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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

TOP energy officials and stakeholders confirmed the power shortage besetting Visayas region, particularly Panay and Negros Occidental.

 

The energy scenario in the region and the necessary actions that must be taken to avert the shortage was presented during the energy summit initiated by the Department of Energy at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel January 14-16.

 

The summit was attended by officials of the National Power Corp. (NPC), National Transmission Corp. (Transco), Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), independent power producers, distribution utilities and other stakeholders in the energy industry.

 

In a summit brief obtained by The Daily Guardian, Crispin “Bingbong” Lamayan, Transco assistant vice president for System Operations-Visayas, confirmed the shortage of reserved electricity in the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) power grid.

 

As of December 17, 2008, 7pm, Panay Island lacks 53 megawatts (MW) while Negros is short by 57MW.

 

Lamayan said Panay is suffering from rotating brownouts ranging from 30 minutes to 9 hours. Negros needs 240MW by 2010 on top of its present capacity of 109MW.

 

The Transco official also said that Cebu province lacks 291MW with Mactan Island accounting for about 65MW while the power deficit in Bohol reached 38.70MW.

 

The Leyte-Samar enjoys a 352.70MW surplus but it is not enough to fill in the 439.7MW total power deficit of Visayas region.

 

The supply coming from geothermal plants in Leyte, where the grid also gets its power needs, is also decreasing, Lamayan said in several news items last year.

 

The power crisis is attributed to the burgeoning business climate in the region while power sources remained the same.

 

What needs to be done to avert the power crisis by 2010?

 

Mario Pangilinan, PEMC vice president for market operations, presented the Supply Augmentation Plan which is being finalized and will be operational within the period the CNP grid is expected to suffer low electricity supply. This crisis period includes the present until 2010 when new power plants in Visayas are expected to be operational.

 

The summit also came up with action plans based on the needs and peculiarities of each island in Visayas.

 

In Panay, energy officials proposed the deployment of more NPC modular units (generator sets) to augment the island’s power supply. Another solution presented was the uprating of the Negros-Panay transmission by middle of 2010.

 

Another proposal is the possibility of granting renewable energy initiatives before the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9513 (Renewable Energy Law) are finalized.

 

Ilonggo business executive Rex Drilon, president of the Iloilo Local Economic Development Foundation who attended the summit, called for the declaration of a state of emergency in Panay given its power shortage problem.

 

For Negros, the development of the biomass market was encouraged.

 

It was also proposed that incentives will be given to renewable energy investors before the implementation of RA 9513. The rehabilitation of existing power plants in Negros must also be covered by the said incentives.

 

The consortium of the five electric cooperatives in Western Visayas is also seen to develop the subtransmission line and loop and improve electricity supply.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

LOOMING power and water crises are bugging the Iloilo City government this holiday season.

For one, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) has yet to install the 15 units of modular diesel power generator in Iloilo City to augment the metropolis’ electricity. With this, Mayor Jerry Treñas said he is apprehensive power blackouts will occur when the city celebrates Christmas and New Year.

Last year, the whole metropolis was plunged in darkness but Panay Electric Co. (Peco) and Panay Power Corp. said the outages were man-made and technical in nature.

The generator sets supposed to be installed before December in a Peco-owned lot at Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao are part of Napocor’s commitment to the city to supply 15 megawatts of power through a direct interconnection agreement with Peco mandated by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Early this year, Napocor installed the first batch of the same 15 generator sets at the Capiz Electric Cooperative compound in Panit-an, Capiz to augment power supply in the province and parts of northern Iloilo.

This is in response to the order of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the Department of Energy and Napocor to solve the acute power shortage in Panay, especially in Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, Panay Power Corp. continues as the main supplier of electricity to Iloilo City which has currently a peak demand of 76MW. This December, the city’s power demand may exceed 90MW.

Aside from power shortage, the City government is also grappling with acute water shortage. The problem is more pronounced in the 11 Waterfront barangays who were supposed to meet the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) board of directors around 2pm Thursday. The meeting did not push through as the punong barangays walked out after an hour of waiting for the directors to meet them.

The meeting was aimed at resolving the water shortage at the Waterfront whose residents are now restive over MIWD’s minimum fee of P159. Residents said no water comes out of their faucets but they continue to pay the water firm.

Punong Barangay Roberto Divinagracia said Waterfront barangays are forced to buy water by the gallons from private sources.

Divinagracia, president of the Association of Barangay Captains-Iloilo City proper district, said they will make a position letter asking MIWD to waive the minimum fee until normal water supply returns to the waterfront area.

BILLING POLICY

In a news release issued yesterday, the MIWD issued a new billing policy on areas that have no water supply.

In consonance with the resolution passed by the MIWD board of directors the other day. the water firm decided to condone the payment of water bills in some MIWD service areas experiencing water shortage.

Engr. Edgar Calasara, MIWD officer-in-charge, said water bills which have zero to five cubic meter (0-5cu. m.) consumption reading shall not be delivered anymore provided that the water district’s engineering department certifies that such area has no water for the period.

Water bills that were delivered to concessionaires shall not be paid provided that said billing bears 0-5 cu. m. consumption reading and are certified by the Engineering Department as within an area without water supply for the period.

If the consumer has paid the bill in any authorized MIWD collecting banks or payment outlets, the amount shall be retained and considered advanced payment for future water bills.

Calasara said the policies shall be effective November 1 to December 31, 2008, unless extended by another board resolution.

He, however, said that consumers in areas where there is a steady supply of water are obliged to pay their monthly water bills.

Calasara also assured the consumers that MIWD is doing everything to fast track the permanent repair of its damaged pipe and the ongoing cleaning of its reservoir in order to restore water in areas where there is intermittent supply, particularly in Jaro and the Waterfront.

 

Ileco 1 general manager Wilfred Billena (right) and Ileco 2 president Dennis Ventilacion explain the purpose of the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium. (FAA)

Ileco 1 general manager Wilfred Billena (right) and Ileco 2 president Dennis Ventilacion explain the purpose of the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium. (FAA)

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ELECTRIC cooperatives in Panay and Guimaras are racing against time in their search for power suppliers that can provide stable electricity by 2011.

The seven electric cooperatives in Panay-Guimaras said they are facing very serious power shortage with the looming expiration of their contract with the National Power Corp. (Napocor) after 2010.

This problem prompted the cooperatives to form the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium (PGPC) that will represent their interests, especially their increasing demand for electricity.

Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager and interim consortium president, said they have been looking for power producers that can supply stable and cheap electricity to their franchise areas.

Billena yesterday led the opening of the bids submitted by five independent power producers in Panay-Guimaras areas.

Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Ileco 2 president, said they cannot extend their power supply contract with Napocor because it is being privatized by the national government.

“They (Napocor) will not anymore renew the contract because of the privatization. We are now looking for other sources of electricity for our requirements from 2011 onwards,” Ventilacion said. 

Ventilacion said the Napocor contracts of Aklan and Capiz electric cooperatives will expire December this year “and they will have to look for their suppliers.”

“What they have now is a transition supply contract which will sustain the electricity supply to their consumers. The contract however is very limited because Napocor cannot anymore expand its capacity. This limited contract will mean a community cannot grow because of limited power supply,” Ventilacion added.

Billena said another problem besetting the cooperatives is the “assignability clause” which favors buyers of Napocor assets.

“Let us take for example the Dingle power plant. Under the assignability clause, the contract of a cooperative will be assigned to the new owner of the Dingle plant which might yield higher power rates because the plant is purely diesel. That is causing fear among the cooperatives,” Billena said.

Billena said another purpose of the consortium is to stabilize the price of electricity in Panay-Guimaras area once the proposed power plants are operational.

“To ascertain the future prices of electricity, we formed the consortium which will look and negotiate with power producers. We don’t want prices of electricity to be erratic that’s so we can plan our future growth.

Billena said they are looking for power producers that can provide electricity “24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.”

“We need a base plant considering the growth rate of the Panay-Guimaras area. That is why we are conducting the bidding so that we can get steady power supply at the cheapest cost,” he added.

A total of five power suppliers tendered their bids to PGPC including Trans-Asia Oil and the Global Business Power Corp.-DM Consunji Inc. consortium which will use coal to produce electricity.

The other bidders include firms using biomass and hydroelectric power but their bids may only be for peaking, not baseload.

Atty. Salvador Cabaluna, Ileco 1 director, said the PCPC members will evaluate the bids before they reconvene next month.

“We will evaluate the bids not just in terms of their prices but also their capability to provide stable electricity supply,” Cabaluna said.

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