Bohol, Cebu power woes continue

By Dave Albarado and Kier Edison C. Belleza – July 12, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Tagbilaran City – The city experienced a blackout Tuesday night that lasted until early Wednesday morning, as authorities struggled to stabilize the power supply in Bohol almost a week after the strong earthquake that shook most of the Visayas.

Dice Arcenal, spokesperson of the Bohol Light Company Inc, (BLCI) the main power utility for Tagbilaran, said in a radio interview demand peaked on Tuesday night causing the circuits to trip.

Power was restored in some areas at about 2 a.m. Wednesday after one circuit went back online.

Only two feeder blocks were energized as of Wednesday. The feeder blocks had pumping stations that provided enough water to drive their turbines, said Arcenal.

She appealed to consumers to be prudent in using electricity to maximize the meager supply.

Other areas of the city were still without power because lines damaged by the earthquake were being repaired.

Because power generation relies on a steady source water, the city government is considering purchasing about five generator sets for the waterworks system.

Mayor John Geesnell Yap revealed the plan during Monday’s joint meeting with the Peace and Order, Anti-Drug Abuse and Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Councils.

The generators will keep the pumping stations running to ensure water service even during power interruptions.

Taken up at the Tuesday meeting of the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) was the plan to draw electricity from Cebu and the use of power barges.

The meeting comes as efforts to energize the bypass line that was supposed to provide temporary power from Cebu continued.

The power situation in Cebu itself is far from normal, with Metro Cebu still experiencing daily rotating brownouts.

Visayan Electric Company (VECO) Systems Operation Department Head Juan Miguel Exaltacion said on Wednesday power interruptions will continue in its franchise areas in the coming days.

“Unfortunately, we cannot give you specifics on exactly what time of the day, which feeders, but rest assured that it’s going to be an hour or an hour and a half at the most,” Exaltacion said.

He explained that VECO relies on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which decides power allocation.

Exaltacion said the power firm has also used up its interruptible load program (ILP) arrangement with 40 big establishments in its service areas such as hotels, factories and shopping malls.

The ILP aims to ease the impact of a power shortage by letting its partners use generators to minimize outages. In turn, VECO will pay its partners based on the established generation rate.

From Monday until Wednesday, companies like CEMEX Philippines, Mabuhay Vinyl Corporation and San Miguel Corporation contributed around 20 megawatts by using generators, the output of about five residential power feeders, he said.

VECO, the country’s second biggest power distributor, has around 2.5 million consumers in Metro Cebu, and has a demand of 450 to 460 megawatts during peak hours daily