Power (in)stability

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I SUPPOSE we can blame those irritating intermittent brownouts on climate change.

Our power supply in Negros Occidental is supposedly set to stabilize this week when Unit 1 of the 246-MW coal plant of the Cebu Energy Development Corp. in Toledo City is back on line after shutting down the other week.

According to news reports, the Tongonan plant went off-line for a few hours that resulted, to the shortage of power supply. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines Visayas requested electric cooperatives to have a 15 to 20 minute load shedding.


The system peak in the Visayas grid was 1,550 MW while its capacity was 1,515 MW. Electricity demand was simply too high for the capacity.

Even the NGCP in the Visayas had to import 50 MW from the power reserves of Luzon to augment the supply of electricity.

Not surprisingly, the timing came at a time when summer and the humidity were simply too much to bear.

I have to admit that I switched on the house air-conditioning for hours at night to cool the air. Using the electric fans was simply insufficient.

This kind of heat and humidity triggers an asthma attack. My health versus the need for energy conservation and high energy costs.

We often say health is wealth. I have to survive. I have to shell out more pesos for my monthly Ceneco bills. Better that though than to pay for hospital bills.

Daytime isn’t too bad, except when I’m out in the streets. The offices I got to have air-conditioning units. But out there in the open, it’s another story.

This is speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other middle class homes with air-conditioning units also did the same.

I blame the situation on increased power use to climate change and to extreme weather events.

Pagasa says we are experiencing El Niño. Weather reports say that in Luzon and in other parts of Negros Occidental, the earth is parched. Temperature has even risen to 38-40º Celsius.

At least in Bacolod, rains have come and I eased up on my carbon footprints with the prolonged air-conditioning. I should also get some slack on my power bill.

But this summer and the previous summers are all dire warnings of worse things to come.

And a huge monthly bill and brownouts could be the least of my worries. I shudder at the thought.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 28, 2014.


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