Stakeholders must come up with solutions to power crisis
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - February 25, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Amid the issues involving the current power situation in Cebu, a business leader said the energy sector is expected “to do its best to ensure that the worst fears do not happen.”

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jeruel Roa told The FREEMAN in a statement that if electricity cannot be supplied sufficiently when it is needed, “then business must make the decision to do what is appropriate including shutting down temporarily.”

But Roa hopes this won't happen in the future.

While Visayas including Cebu will have enough power supply this summer, the Department of Energy said the region’s grid has currently low reserves, The FREEMAN reported yesterday.

These reserves were said to be caused by maintenance repairs of some power plants in the region.

When electricity crisis happens, the MCCI official suggested that key stakeholders must come up with workable solutions “based on shared accountability and sacrifice.”

Last Feb. 19, a massive power loss hit parts of the Visayas, which followed rotating blackouts in Metro Cebu.

In an earlier interview, Engineer J. Rey Maleza of DOE Visayas clarified energy shortage did not trigger the power failure.

Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said there is little to be concerned about the energy situation unless any disasters will strike.

“I believe that any power supply issues are short-term,” Joseph said yesterday in a text message. “In Luzon the ILP (interruptible load program) will provide adequate reserves in the event of unplanned interruptions. The Visayas grid is in good shape with new plants on stream.”

The businessman said the ILP which was already implemented in Cebu would be easy to restart if necessary.

He added: “The temporary solution is load sharing which has already been implemented in Cebu in the past and which will be implemented in Luzon this year to minimize the impact of a shortage of any.”

Under the ILP, big power consumers like commercial establishments are asked to operate their own generators during peak demand time if the grid operator sees a need to boost generation capacity in the grid.

Joseph also shared the supposed serious power shortage before in Cebu hardly impacted its business because of the load sharing project started by the Visayan Electric Company.

“The power sharing scheme made up for almost all the supply shortage and assisted by VECO’s skillful management of the distribution of available power,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry said VECO will give an update on the power situation to CCCI members on Friday during its general membership meeting.

In a phone interview yesterday, Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc president Rey Calooy stressed small and medium enterprises are “at the mercy” when rotational blackouts occur because most of them do not own power generators.

He said power outage could affect business and productivity.

He noted electricity interruption could force enterprises to cut production or change its schedule, rent generators, or worst to implement forced leave on their employees.

“Definitely, forced leave is possible  especially if the brownout would take three to 4 hours. It would affect productivity and there will be reduction in manpower,” he said.

MCCI's Roa said that in case of serious power outage, government does not necessarily have to be one to suspend work. But businesses and their people must be allowed to agree on how they will confront this problem, he said.

“However, government may provide some optional guidelines for consideration of those who are affected,” he added.

BUT ROA CEBU CEBU BUSINESS CLUB CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ENGINEER J FILIPINO-CEBUANO BUSINESS CLUB INC GORDON ALAN JOSEPH POWER VISAYAS
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