Stable power supply on holidays assured
Grace Melanie L. Lacamiento (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Now that the yuletide season is in the offing, the Visayan Electric Company assures the public they need not worry over power supply during the holidays.

VECO chief operating officer Sebastian Lacson said that power supply of the Visayas region will continue to be stable in the next years as more power plants are being put up.

He said that construction of power plants has already started in Panay, Negros and Cebu.

“The power outlook in Visayas especially for Cebu is very good. They don’t have to worry,” he said.

He added that unless technical failure on the power lines happens, that will only be the time that it could affect the supply during the Christmas season.

Lacson cited that the electric company buys power from different generating companies to ensure a sufficient supply of electricity for its customers.

These generation technologies may range from nuclear power, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, coal, oil-fired, natural gas to combined cycle gas turbine.

“If we are not planning carefully, then there will really power shortage if the capacity is lower than the demand or may have excess if the capacity goes above the demand,” he said, adding the demand for power goes steadily upward overtime.

VECO has five power sources for the region. These include Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, Green Core Geothermal Inc., National Power Corp., Cebu Private Power Corp., and Cebu Energy Development Corp.

It was also last Tuesday that Lacson explained to the local reporters during a media briefing on the power industry why the power in the Philippines is costly compared with other countries.

He cited that price of power down to the consumers also depends on the wealth of the country. He explained that those countries with higher the Gross Domestic Product per capita may have cheap power rates even if they are actually more expensive than other countries such as the Philippines and vice versa.

“The price of power is relative of how richer the country is.. It depends on how wealthy and poor the country is,” he said.

He said that since the Philippines is an archipelago, it has three power grids to support the electricity needs of Filipinos in the three regions across the country.

Unlike in South Korea that only has one grid since it has a contiguous land, the Philippines has to have three small grids that are producing small quantities of power for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“This is an issue on geography and we cannot do anything about it. South Korea only has one grid since it is not divided to many islands, thus the power cost is lower. But power companies in the Philippines cannot offer the same prices since the power for each grid is intended for a specific region,” Lacson said.

He also pointed out that the supply of power in the Philippines is not subsidized by the government.

“Government in other countries decide to subsidize power, thus the cost gets lower. But the Philippine government decided not to supply power with subsidy since it wanted the true cost of power to come out, for Filipinos to pay what they have to,” he said.

Lacson recalled how the country used to have subsidized power through the National Power Corporation but was stopped due to the policy decision of the government,

He also said that the Philippines is not self-sufficient when it comes to power since it does not have indigenous sources.

“It boils down to geology. The Philippines is not blessed with fossil fuel resources that can be given for free,” he said. /JOB (FREEMAN)

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