Veco expects stable power situation in Visayas-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
WITH the summer months over, the Visayan Electric Co. sees no reason for the public to worry about the power supply, even as the Christmas holidays draw near.
Veco chief operating officer Sebastian Lacson power consumption is highest during summer due to air conditioning use.
The only thing that could possibly affect their supply this Christmas is if something happens that affects the power’s interconnection lines, which he discounted as remote.
Citing a few power projects in the pipeline for the Visayas, Lacson assured that the Visayas’ power supply will remain stable in the next few years.
As of March, the Department of Energy listed a total of 414 megawatts in committed power projects for the Visayas grid until December 2015. These include two coal-fired power plants, a geothermal project and a biomass project in Iloilo, Cebu, Antique and Negros Oriental.
In Cebu, committed power projects include an 82 megawatt coal-fired power plant by the Toledo Power Company estimated at P10.1 billion for commissioning by the third quarter of next year and a four-megawatt biomass project by the Asian Energy System Corp. slated for December 2015. Lacson also mentioned plans for coal plants in Panay, Negros island and Cebu.
“The prospect for the Visayas, especially Cebu, is very good,” he told reporters.
The discussion was brought up as Veco hosted a briefing for reporters yesterday on the basics of the power industry.
Although it has been observed that the Philippines has the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia, Lacson said that this should be viewed from a different perspective.
He said that countries with higher GDP (gross domestic product) per capita may find their power rates cheap even if theirs are actually more expensive than that of the Philippines. Countries where people earn less, on the other hand, would find their power rates too high even if these are lower than that of the Philippines.
“Mahal (costliness) is always relative. Let us not focus on the domestic rate,” he
Still, Lacson acknowledged that some factors have made producing power in the Philippines more expensive.
He said that because the Philippines is an archipelago, three small grids producing smaller quantities were created, instead of one single grid that is possible for a country with contiguous land, such as Korea.
The Philippine Government also does not subsidize power unlike other governments and the country does not have indigenous fossil fuel resources.
Lacson noted that even the local supply of coal is mixed with higher quality coal from other countries to fuel the country’s power plants.
To make sure customers have a reliable supply of electricity, Lacson said Veco buys power from different types of generating companies at different capacities and rates.
Veco gets its supply from Green Core Geothermal Inc., Cebu Energy Development Corp., the National Power Corp., Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC) and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
Lyndon Jayme, Veco assistant vice president for utility economics, said majority of the power they purchase is renewable, with 51.5 percent from geothermal sources.
Coal makes up 36.8 percent; bunker fuel consists of five percent while 6.7 percent comes from mixed sources.
To address sudden spikes in demand, Veco buys from the diesel-fired power plants of CPPC and from WESM.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 09, 2013.