Veco's appeal: 'Unplug appliances during peak hours'

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE Visayan Electric Company (Veco) appealed to consumers to reduce their power usage during peak hours, as it expects rotational brownouts to continue in the next six months.

VECO Chief Operations Officer Sebastian Lacson revealed that with Typhoon Yolanda damaging 105 transmission towers in Leyte and almost all of the power generation plants in the province, generation capacity in the Visayas remains “very low.”

Despite the supply deficit, Veco was able to cope with the help of business establishments that offered to run their own generator sets so they won’t have to rely on Veco’s limited supply, and to spare other Veco customers from longer or more frequent power outages.


There are now 22 establishments participating in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which contributes up to 45 percent of the load curtailment.

Without the ILP, brownouts would have been twice as long, Lacson said in an advisory to Veco customers.

As for the households, Lacson said that customers can help by reducing power usage when the demand is at its highest and when shortage is most acute, which is at 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The demand is at its highest peak from 12 noon to 3 p.m.


He appealed to power consumers to refrain from running their air-conditioning units and using flat iron or dryers during these hours.

Lacson revealed that before Yolanda, the total dependable capacity of the power facilities in Leyte is normally 747 megawatts.

Around one-third of Veco’s supply comes from Leyte and from the damaged facilities.

Three months after the typhoon, only one plant has been energized, providing only 144 megawatts.

“As of now, demand for power in the Visayas has not yet peaked because of the typhoon damage. But when it does peak, the shortage could worsen,” said Lacson.

Veco is waiting for the power plants to be repaired so supply will normalize, but Lacson said rehabilitation may take at least six months given the extent of the damage they suffered during the typhoon.

“So we therefore expect rotational brownouts to continue at least for the next six months,” he added.

Last Dec. 2, the entire franchise area of Veco experienced power outage for two hours. The shortage that day reached 100 megawatts, which is equivalent to 25 percent of Veco’s peak demand.

In the same advisory, Lacson thanked the business establishments that participated in the ILP for helping reduce the demand, among them SM City Cebu, Cemex and Ayala Center Cebu.

While Cebu has not experienced prolonged outages since January this year, power outages could still occur since the Cebu-Panay-Negros (CNP) grid and power plants in Leyte are still undergoing rehabilitation, said Theresa Gonzales, Veco’s corporate communications manager.

She also disclosed that last Friday, Dumaguete’s Palimpinon Geothermal Power Plant reportedly tripped and caused a deficiency of 71 megawatts within the CNP grid.

Gonzales said, though, that Cebu did not suffer much from the shortage considering that demand for power has dropped due to the cold weather.

She revealed that peak demand as of yesterday is only 380 to 390 megawatts, lower than the 430-megawatt demand on hotter days.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 10, 2014.

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