Power firm calls for transparency

CEBU, PHILIPPINES - The inconsistencies of reports pertaining to the power situation in the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid prompted Global Business Power Corporation to call for transparency in all electricity concerns and issues.

“We support the call for the analysis of what really is the problem that is challenging the industry. We want to know the real shortfall of energy so we can prepare for the situation of supply because our thrust is to provide transparency to the stakeholders of the industry,” GBPC president Jesus N. Alcordo said in a press conference at the Casino Español.

This stemmed from two conflicting reports presented earlier by the National Transmission Commission (Transco) and the National Power Corporation (NPC).

Alcordo said that Transco’s presentation bared that the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid has a shortfall of 40 megawatts (MW) because the reserved capacity of the geothermal power plant in Tongonan, Leyte which supplies 360 MW of its 400 MW submarine cable to Cebu has de-rated its capacity to 520 MW.

But, in another presentation at an Energy Forum hosted by the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) during the fourth quarter of last year, NPC reported that the Tongonan, Leyte geothermal plant only has 480 MW capacity, in which reserved capacity of the plant could be at 32 MW which might make the actual shortfall of energy even much higher than the reported 40 MW, said Alcordo.

“There should be transparency so we will know the real actual capacity because energy issues are very critical. At this point, we don’t really know if the energy shortfall is higher or not. As players in the generation sector, we want to find out the problems of the industry so we can act on it accordingly,” stressed Alcordo.

Thus, GBPC, the umbrella company of the Toledo Power Company, expressed its full support to the proposal to audit power plants in Cebu to avoid the projected power shortage in the province and enhance the reliability of energy generation.

Fr. Francisco Silva of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) recently made a call to audit power plants in Cebu to avoid power outages in the province.

Global Power president Jesus N. Alcordo said that a full audit of power plants will ensure sustainable and reliable power in the province.

He said that Cebu records the highest energy demand and consumption in the whole Visayas regions and it also records the highest growth rate of energy consumption so transparency in electricity concerns and issues is very essential at this point.

Cebu’s rate in energy consumption accelerated owing to the ongoing developments of its commercial and industrial sectors.

Alcordo, however, suggested that the power plant audit should not be limited to the maintenance of the power plants but should also cover all factors concerning the energy sector.

He said that there are three main concerns faced by Cebu’s power industry today and this includes the lack of required reserve capacity to meet the growing power demand in the province.

He said that electricity rates in the region are only benchmarked against the time-of-use rates of NPC, which do not totally reflect the true cost of generation and not encouraged investments in new capacities over the years.

He also underscored that baseload capacities in the region all come from very old power plants such as the TPC’s 66 MW coal-fired power plant in Toledo City, which is already 33 years old.

“We have invested around 200 million pesos in the power plant’s rehabilitation to improve its reliability. However, an old plant is an old plant so it can never be as efficient or as reliable as a new one regardless how much we spent on it,” he said.

He said that the 246 MW clean coal power plant that is currently being constructed in Toledo City by the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC), the power consortium composed of GBPC, Aboitiz Power Corp., Vivant Energy Corp., and the Formosa Heavy Industries Corp., could help address and provide possible solutions to the prevailing concerns in the power sector regarding the supply efficiency and reliability of Cebu’s power industry.


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