Paleco touts big drop in duration, frequency of service disruptions

By Lenie Lectura – July 22, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE Palawan Electric Co. (Paleco) cited over the weekend improvements in electricity services to its customers, particularly a significant reduction in the duration and frequency of power interruption.

“If we compare the Saidi (System Average Interruption Duration Index) and the Saifi  (System Average Interruption Frequency Index) between the time when President Duterte cautioned [on] the privatization of power distribution services in Palawan and what we have now, interruption frequency and duration experienced by our customers have significantly reduced by at least 50 percent,” Paleco Chairman Jeffrey Y. Tan-Endriga said.

Among the measures undertaken by Paleco include massive clearing of trees in the entire coverage area; continuous conduct of regular thermal scanning of power substation equipment and distribution lines to prevent hot spots; transformer load management; massive inspection, resealing, modification and change of defective big load meters and instrument transformers; meter clustering of residential consumers along squatter, coastal and other areas with suspected pilferages, coordination of protective devices, improvement of grounding system and capacitating of technical personnel on distribution maintenance and substation operation.

“For Paleco, these unplanned power interruptions are caused mostly by heavy vegetation and wildlife incursion attributed to the vast forest cover of Palawan,” he said, explaining that the “stringent” rules of DENR and local government policies in Palawan limit Paleco from conducting “massive line clearing to protect the integrity of the lines.”

Tan-Endriga said at least 40 percent of the total power interruptions recorded from January 2019 to May 2019 are attributed to power plants which may be caused by abnormal engine tripping, old-aged generating units, and uncoordinated protection equipment settings between new power players, National Power Corp. and Paleco.

The electric cooperative is also working on several key projects to improve its services. These include installation of additional substations and improve the reliability of power delivery to consumers in far-flung areas.

Paleco will also install a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) to ensure real-time monitoring and faster response to required line operations.

“It is becoming clear now that power outages are not just coming from the distribution side. The transmission and generation are also contributory to such issues,” Tan-Endriga noted.

The lack of funds, he said, also caused delays in the improvement of Paleco’s services since its capital expenditure (capex) program was only approved in November 2018.

“Paleco is moving toward system’s loss reduction and improvement of reliability indices (Saidi and Saifi) which are indicators of EC’s technical performance. With the approval of our capex, we can now start the much-needed facility improvements which will lead to the improvement of electricity services in our franchise area. We hope to further reduce our system interruption duration and frequencies by at least 50 percent from the previous year as what we have already achieved in the first semester of 2019,” Tan-Endriga said.

Paleco is strongly opposing the renewed interest of MORE Reedbank Corp. to take over its distribution franchise as this will not immediately solve the power supply situation in the island of Palawan. “We believe that [takeover] is not justified. Paleco has been doing its best to improve its services particularly its reliability indices,” he said.

To date, Paleco has maintained its outstanding classification based on National Electrification Administration’s performance standards.  It was categorized as an “AA” Electric Cooperative, reflecting exemplary performance under the operational and financial parameters of the agency.