Editorial: #CebuUnplugged

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014


COMPANIES and other institutions that have helped prevent power cuts from plaguing Cebu these recent months will be recognized today, as part of the Cebu Unplugged campaign of Cebu's largest power distributor.

These companies are participants in the Interruptible Loan Program (ILP), which means that when there's hardly enough supply to go around, they generate their own power, for which the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (Veco) compensates them. By volunteering to "self-generate," ILP participants--which include malls, a brewery and hotels--help keep smaller companies, households and entire communities lit.

The Cebu Unplugged challenge is different for ILP participants and for households. ILP participants don't necessarily use less electricity; they just secure their own supply. For households and individuals, the message from Veco seems counter-intuitive:
in effect, it's telling us to use less of the commodity it distributes.

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Yet if there's anything recent calamities should have brought home, it is the need to make choices—sometimes difficult ones—that inflict less damage on our natural environment. We don't like to be reminded of it, but the bulk of power we use still comes from non-renewable sources like oil and coal. While there is little we can individually do to speed up the adoption of renewable power, the amount of electricity we do consume is something we can control.

In those dark days after Yolanda, we were encouraged to be more mindful about using power because the storm had knocked down supply from Leyte. (One noteworthy effort then was the social marketing campaign to use less power, run by the We Are Cebu social media accounts.)

The team behind Cebu Unplugged hopes that by providing eight simple ways to use less power at home, residents will participate not necessarily because it will save them heaps in their electricity bill (it may not), but because using less power is the responsible thing to do. Using energy-efficient lights and appliances; switching to electric fans instead of air-conditioning units; and unplugging appliances as a matter of habit, among other ways, may be what will keep Cebu, as a whole, more competitive.

Reader, we know you've done and will continue to do your share.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 04, 2014.

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