Power utility adds ILP cost to consumers

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


CAGAYAN Electric Power and Light Company (Cepalco) clarified on Tuesday that the P.8-centavo fee is intended for the interruptible load program (ILP) it wants to implement to subsidize the ongoing rotational power outage in the city.

Marilyn Chavez, senior manager and customer community relations manager of Cepalco, said Cepalco didn’t petition for a raise in the per kilowatt-hour (kWh) charges, but for the ILP – the use of private generator sets of a power utility to help the power problem.

Chavez said some businessmen in the city offered Cepalco the use of their huge generating sets to contribute to the company’s self-supply and help the city ease the problems brought by the brownouts.

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Cepalco would pay for the diesel the generator sets require and consume. Thus, additional fee for the ILP will be charged to the consumers.

The amendment to the “Rules to Govern the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) of Distribution Utilities for Visayas and Mindanao” states that sufficient cost recovery by participating customers and increasing the fuel consumption cap from 0.28 liter per kWh to 0.34 liter per kWh to allow for a higher cost recovery for fuel.

ILP is needed because the power situation in Mindanao is still severe, Chavez said.

Chavez confirmed that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved in April the P.8-cents increase that Cepalco petitioned based on ERC’s guidelines and the consumers have already been billed.

Ralph Paguio, executive vice-president of Cepalco, said in a text message to this paper that ERC has an approved procedure on how to compensate the ILP volunteers including a recovery mechanism.

"The P.8-centavo per kWh is the recovery for March when the power shortage started and Steag plants failed in February. Without the ILP we would have started having rotating power interruptions in March," Paguio said.

Rotating brownouts in the city began in the third week of April.

Recently, the residents have only experienced shorter power outages as compared last month and earlier this month when brownouts raged on.

Chavez cited the rains since last week have helped improve the power outage situation in the city.

Paguio said the ILP cost is temporary and voluntary. "We should be grateful that we have civic minded industries and businesses who volunteered to generate power for us."

He said the higher the shortage the longer will be the generation hours and thus the more is needed to shell out for the energy "our ILP volunteers generated."

Meanwhile, the National Grid Corporation on its twitter page (@NGCP_ALERT) posted the power situation outlook for May 21, 2014 as 1,234 MW, with a system peak of 1,284 MW, and gross reserve of -50 MW.

Sufficient power in 2016

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Lualhati Antonino said in a press conference held at a hotel here on Wednesday that power outages will stop in 2016 as sufficient power supply will be available by then.

Antonino said that MinDA’s attention is also on the Agus–Pulangi problem.

“We experience power outages because the water streams poorly these days. It would be very dangerous when drought will come for it can drain down below the critical level since the engines in the Agus–Pulangi power plants cannot function anymore,” she said.

“This problem has worsened when Steag State Power Inc. (SPI) turbines stopped functioning in February. SPI contributes a lot to the power distribution in Mindanao. However, in the last quarter of this year, the 300 MW from Agus-Pulangi will run again and the other 300 MW will add in the first quarter of 2015.”

She added that San Miguel Corporation, a food, beverage and packaging company, has also proposed to run a power plant in Mindanao.

“Proposal pa lang but San Miguel Corporation can help in stabilizing power soon because they promised to contribute an additional 1000 MW to Mindanao’s power.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 22, 2014.

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