By JADE LOPEZ, Reporter
SOME 60 companies in Cebu are now ready to utilize their own generator sets during peak hours to help cushion the problem of power supply shortage in the metropolis anytime this year, a power advocacy group official said yesterday.
“These generator sets, with a combined power load of 80-megawatts (MW), owned by businesses here, are ready for use in case of a power shortage,” said Carlos Co, who chairs the Cebu Power Core Group (CPCG) of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
The Visayas Supply Augmentation Auction (VSAA) Program, Co said, functions like a “day-ahead” market that allows generators of multinational companies, including medium to small scale businesses, to sell their un-contracted capacity, and customers to sell an interruptible portion of their loads through an auction process.
The Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) was mandated by the Department of Energy (DoE) to administer an auction process for capacity that shall augment supply in the Cebu, Negros and Panay islands.
Prospective participants in the power supply auction process are grid-connected generation facilities who are willing to sell their un-contracted capacity or self-generation facilities (embedded generators) that are connected to a distribution network.
Co said among the companies that have affirmed their participation of the program include beverage giant San Miguel Corp., mall
conglomerates Ayala Center Cebu and SM City Cebu, and the Cebu-grown Gaisano Group, which also owns a chain of department stores here.
“The shopping malls said they are willing to generate their own power if there is a lack in supply,” he said, noting that CPCG together with power suppliers National Power Corp. and the National Transmission Corp. anticipate a looming power supply shortage in Cebu this year.
“Using the company’s standby power is expensive,” Clarito Fruelda, CCCI vice chairman earlier commented. He acknowledged, though, that capitalizing on generator sets owned by companies will improve the supply of power to majority of household consumers of power utility firms, like the Visayan Electric Company.
However, Co said the CPCG believes the VSAA “will not be implemented too soon” as Cebu is currently experiencing a stable power supply due to a reduction in operation hours among manufacturing firms, resulting from the global financial crisis.
“Power consumption (in manufacturing firms) is down as operations have been under a slowdown also. Volumes and orders are down,” he said.
Co said the VSAA will run only until April 2010, where by that time the Visayas grid will soon have enough power supply with the opening here of the 246-MW coal-fired power plant of the Cebu Global Power Corp.
The VSAA has been the consensus reached with stakeholders in the Visayas to finally mollify dilemmas of power interruptions that have been impeding economic activities in the region, and one that has also been causing inconvenience to consumers at all levels.