Cebu provincial government lauds ILP volunteers for alleviating rolling brownouts in Visayas - Cebu Circle | Cebu City, Philippines

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Cebu provincial government lauds ILP volunteers for alleviating rolling brownouts in Visayas

September 21, 2009 - The Cebu provincial government last week recognized companies that volunteered to run their generation units in order to alleviate brownouts during the now almost-daily power shortages in the Visayas grid.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia took pride in the unique private-public sector partnership, the interruptible load program (ILP), and at the same time criticized the Department of Energy (DOE) for failing to put measures in place to prevent the now-daily rotational brownouts in the Visayas.

“If we have waited for them [DOE], then we could have been in a much graver situation now,” Garcia said.

The governor particularly hit the Visayas Supply Augmentation Agreement (VSAA) of the DOE, which was supposed to encourage merchant plants and industries with excess capacity to sell their power to the grid through the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market trading platform.

The VSAA, however, has yet to be implemented when it is needed most this month, which power stakeholders project as the most critical with several major power plants in the grid down for maintenance coupled with an ever-increasing demand by a growing economy.

“The [DOE] secretary has been announcing all his plans, what is important is less talk and more action for a brighter future,” the governor said.

On September 15 Metro Cebu had its worst day yet with six hourlong interruptions hitting various localities. The situation is much graver in the tail end of the grid, especially Panay island.

“We are privileged the public and private sector in Cebu did not just step aside and say we cannot do anything about the situation,” the governor said.

“The majority of small consumers will never feel the effects of the brownouts because during critical hours, the Visayan Electric Co. [Veco] could call on these companies and they have responded.”

Officers of Veco said there would have been more brownouts if not for the ILP. “The situation could have been worse,” Veco vice president for administration Ricky Lacson said.

“This program shows how a tripartite agreement between the government, the utility and the private sector could generate a very positive result.”

The Cebu provincial government recognized the companies who joined the program—San Miguel Corp., Vicsal Development Corp. of the Metro Gaisano Group, Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, Elizabeth Mall, Gaisano Country Mall of Lucky Development Group, AD Gothong Industries, and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Combined, all the companies could average up to 40 megawatts (MW) off the Visayas grid.

Veco also turned over the first few compensation checks to the companies covering the period when the program started in April up to June this year.

The Energy Regulatory Commission has recently approved the compensation scheme for the ILP participating companies. Veco will pay them for the difference off Veco’s power and the cost to generate their own supply.

The dire power situation in the Visayas is set to be relieved when the first unit of the 245-MW coal-fired plant of Cebu Energy Development Corp. in Toledo City will be online by the first half of 2010.

The 200-MW Kepco Salcon Power Corp. plant is also set to be operational by 2011.

The Visayas grid consumes around 900 MW at peak hours, with Veco eating up close to 350 MW. (businessmirror)

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