Electric Coops Protest NGCP Load Shedding

By Butch Bacaoco

Electric cooperatives in Western Visayas will register their protest against the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) over its manual load shedding which has been imposed on all Visayas electric coops.

This was bared yesterday by Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) general manager Sulpicio Lagarde, Jr. during the “transparency meeting” at Ceneco main office in Bacolod.

The monthly transparency meeting is the flagship initiative of Ceneco president Roy Cordova to make the coop operations more transparent to the consumers.

Aside from the computation of Ceneco’s generation charge for the month of July, the meeting also tackled the load shedding or rotational brownouts which have been affecting the coop’s coverage area recently.

“Ceneco has 119 MW of power contracted with different power producers, which were not affected by the July 6 earthquake which hit Leyte and damaged the Leyte geothermal power plants. Since Ceneco’s power producers are capable of supplying the electric coop’s contracted power needs, why do we have to suffer load shedding due to lack of power from Leyte?” Lagarde rhetorically asked.

The damage to the Leyte geothermal power plants deprived the Visayas grid of 640 MW supply of electricity. To address the gross power supply and demand imbalance, the Energy Regulatory Commission suspended the market operations of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in the Visayas and allowed NGCP to decide the allocation and distribution of available power supply.

“Using simple mathematical computation, NGCP divided the power deficiency among the electric coops in the Visayas and imposed rotating brownouts on all of them. This is unfair, because we have existing power supply contracts with our power producers who are capable of delivering all our power needs. NGCP should respect those contractual obligations,” Lagarde pointed out.

He explained that Ceneco “nominates” or allows its power producers to deliver 100 percent of its contracted power with its respective power producers to address all the power needs of Ceneco consumers.

The power producers comply with their contractual obligations, but it appears that not all of the power they deliver eventually end up with Ceneco. If the power producers deliver all of their contracted power, augmented at times by power from the WESM, Ceneco consumers would not have to suffer rotating brownouts.

“We are apprehensive that our power producers might charge us 100 percent of their nominated quantity but we did not avail of all of those power supply,” Lagarde said.

Ceneco sources its power requirements from Kepco SPC Power Corporation, Green Core Geothermal, Energreen and Palm Concepcion Power Corporation. The power plants of these producers are in Cebu, Negros and Panay Islands, and they were not affected by the quake which damaged the Leyte geothermal power plants.

Western Visayas is served by twelve electric coops. Iloilo province is served by ILECO I, ILECO II and ILECO III while the rest of Panay Island is served by ANTECO (Antique), CAPELCO (Capiz) and AKELCO (Aklan). Guimaras Island is served by GUIMELCO.

In Negros, NORECO I and NORECO II serve the eastern side of the island region, while the western side is served by CENECO, NOCECO and NONECO.

Like Ceneco, Western Visayas coops source their power needs from power plants in Cebu, Negros and Panay Islands which were not affected by the July 6 Leyte quake. They agreed during their recent meeting to register their protest on what they deem as unfair load shedding from NGCP.*