Bantayan-mainland link studied-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
THE Regional Development Council (RDC) has passed a resolution endorsing the request of the RDC Subcommittee on Power for the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to study the possibility of a submarine cable interconnection between mainland Cebu and Bantayan Island.
The resolution was passed during the RDC Full Council meeting last Sept. 26.
The council was presided by Acting RDC Vice Chairperson Efren Carreon. It stated that it is a declared policy of the State to ensure the quality, reliability, security and affordability of power supply.
“It is the mandate of government to undertake the electrification of areas not connected to the main transmission grid, also referred to as “missionary areas”, and to serve as a catalysts for development in the farthest, smallest and remotest areas and islands,” read the resolution.
In its Aug. 23, 2013 meeting, the RDC Subcommittee on Power proposed that the best way to reduce electricity rates and at the same time provide quality, reliable and steady power supply is to interconnect the island to the main grid through a submarine cable.
In the Aug. 23 meeting, Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) where Bantayan Island belongs, asked the help of the subcommittee to assist the small islands in his district where potential for eco-tourism development is high.
Salimbangon said there are several islands in the 4th district of Cebu, among them Bantayan and Malapascua, that are favorite destinations of local and international tourists.
Bantayan is also known as a commercial center for dried fish and the “egg basket” of Central Visayas.
Salimbangon said high power rates have tempered the growth of the small islands, as existing and potential investors have become cautious about putting additional investments.
He said that in the case of Malapascua, an application for power subsidy from the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME) has been lodged at the National Power Corp. to address such concern.
The subcommittee was requested to make a follow-up on the status of the application.
The subcommittee noted that electricity in the island grids is high because of the low demand and the cost of producing power.
Putting small generators in the islands using conventional (fossil) fuel or renewable energy would still be expensive.
To lower the rates, especially for Bantayan Island, Salimbangon suggested to interconnect the island to the main grid through a submarine cable.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2013.