Mall, hotel mitigate Cebu power shortage

By JADE LOPEZ, Reporter

IN response to the call of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) to help mitigate the power shortage in Metro Cebu last Monday, big electricity consumers, SM City Cebu Mall and the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, de-loaded from the power utility firm a combined seven-megawatts (MW) of power load.

According to an emailed statement by Veco yesterday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), formerly Transco, declared a power shortage of 30-MW shortly before 2:00 p.m. March 31, Monday, after some generating plants allegedly encountered technical problems.

“With power reserves in the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid at a critical level, Veco was requested by the NGCP to shave off 9.5-MW of power. With this Veco requested two of its major customers (Waterfront Cebu and SM Cebu) to de-load from the system,” the statement read.

Because of the de-loaded seven-MW by both Waterfront Cebu and SM City Cebu, only two-MW had to be interrupted by Veco, sparing hundreds of customers due to the inconvenience of a power outage.

Veco Corporate Communications Manager Ethel Natera confirmed in a text message yesterday that only small portions of Carreta and Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City, including several consumers in the Cebu seaport areas were affected by the power outage, which lasted from 1:05 to 1:58 p.m.

Veco management lauded the efforts of Waterfront Cebu and SM City Cebu for actively responding during Monday’s critical power supply in Metro Cebu.

The de-loading last March 21 was the first time Veco implemented the Interruptible Load Agreement with big power consumers following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the Cebu Provincial Government and Cebu trade groups to address the looming power shortage in Metro Cebu.

Last January 30, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and Cebu Business Club signed the MOA that allows big power consumers to generate their own power whenever there is a power shortage problem.

Veco is tasked to pay the customer compensation for full or partial de-loading when they de-load from the power distribution firm as requested. The amount represents the incremental cost incurred by customer due to the de-loading.

The ILA, also known as the Visayas Supply Augmentation Auction (VSAA) Program, has already been submitted for approval to the Energy Regulatory Commission.

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.

Earlier, Carlos Co, chairman of the CCCI- Cebu Power Core Group, said 60 companies in Cebu are now ready to utilize their own generator sets during peak hours to help curb the problem of power supply shortage in the metropolis anytime this year.

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