The power load requirement of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) is driven up by the rapid business growth in Negros Occidental, particularly in Bacolod City and its neighboring towns and cities.
Ceneco general manager Sulpicio Lagarde Jr. said that with the huge ongoing and looming property developments in their coverage area, the cooperative is growing its load requirement by up to 11 percent.
The power distribution utility caters to the largest number of electric consumers in the province, including those in the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay, and towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.
Ceneco has a maximum power demand of about 157 megawatts this year being supplied by four generation firms which has existing power supply agreements (PSAs) with cooperative.
In case of shortfall, power requirement outside the bilateral contract is automatically supplied by Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) as provided under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) Law.
“With regards to our power requirement, we can assure the consumers that we are prepared for these developments because we are now one of the fastest growing electric cooperatives in the country,” Lagarde said, adding that many manufacturing companies are still coming which will also add to Ceneco's load requirement.
Aside from the “forecasted” additional requirements brought by booming construction projects, Ceneco is also preparing for load locators that are not in the forecast, he added.
Lagarde said these are small business locators with power requirement of at least 250 to 300 kilowatts (kW) each.
In terms of number, these locators are quite big, and Ceneco caters to at least 10 every month, Lagarde said, adding that they are also energizing at least 250 new house and lot packages monthly.
These packages, mostly low-cost housing, form part of the about 700 new connections of Ceneco every month.
“We are projecting that in the next three years, Ceneco will be the largest electric cooperative in the country,” Lagarde said, adding that the cooperative was able to forecast and input the increase in demand through collaborations with various stakeholders including the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Amid its growing power requirement, Ceneco recognizes the need to also invest in additional infrastructures, he added.
Lagarde said they have a pending capital expenditure (Capex) application worth P1.4 billion with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Of this amount, about P110 million is intended for the proposed construction of a new 138 kilovolts (kV) substation in Silay City that would mainly address expansions in the northern portion of its coverage area.
Lagarde said there is currently congestion at the substation in Barangay Mansilingan in Bacolod City thus, they can no longer construct an additional 69-kV line there.
“We are looking at a shortfall of power supply if there are no infrastructures happening somewhere in the north. With the facilities of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, it cannot serve anymore additional supply,” he said. (with reports from PNA)