THE rotation brownouts in Metro Cebu have affected classes in public high schools that do not have generator sets and have exposed night high school students to risk, an official said yesterday.

“We’re definitely seeing that this is a problem,” said Department of Education 7 Director Recaredo Borgonia.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 said hospitals in Cebu are prepared for the power outages.

“Usually, the hospitals have generators on standby, especially for the lifesaving machines of patients,” said DOH 7 Director Susana Madarieta.

Rotation brownouts continued to hit Metro Cebu yesterday, the fifth day the Visayas suffered a 200-megawatt (mw) shortfall in power supply since the 120-megawatt (mw) Leyte Geothermal Power Plant began undergoing preventive maintenance.

“Since 9 a.m. yesterday, most of our franchises were struck by the temporary rotational brownouts,” said Visayan Electric Co.’s Corporate Communications officer Ethel Natera yesterday.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced a 140-mw shortage in the morning peak, a 160-mw shortage in the afternoon peak and 200-mw shortage in the evening peak.

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Veco, a power distribution company, said its share of the shortage was at 65.7 mw in the morning peak, 73.2 mw in the afternoon peak and 100 mw in the evening peak.

The brownouts hit the areas for over an hour.

Borgonia said while operations in the regional office could continue since they have a generator set, public schools are not as fortunate.

“They do not have any generators. We need to ask for the help of LGUs (local government units),” said Borgonia.

He said some schools had to cancel computer classes due to the brownouts.

As for the evening brownouts, Borgonia is not only concerned over the cancellation of classes in night high schools but for the safety of night high school students as well.

He added it would be helpful if the schools would be informed ahead of the schedule of the power outages so they could adjust class schedules.

Meanwhile, the power and water supply in Lapu-Lapu City is becoming critical. And if a new power plant is not built or the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) does not increase water distribution this year, the problem will become worse.

Growing

The problem first came to light after a series of seminar-workshops in 2008 among engineers of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), academe, private and religious sectors and government agencies.

“While it is now evident that these two major concerns need immediate action, there are also a lot of factors that need to be addressed that contributed to the increasing gap between supply and demand,” said Perla Amar, acting chief of CPDO, in a letter to the City Council.

The conclusion of the seminar-workshop was contained in the City’s approved Local Development Investment Plan.

As of 2008, the Mactan Electric Cooperative served 59,589 lines, excluding locators at the Mactan Economic Zone. Still, the City continues to experience power outages.

Water supply, on the other hand, has been fixed at 61,200 cubic meters a day from 2005 to 2010, while demand is expected to hit 72,000 cubic meters a day due to a rising population.

“Power shortage continues to be critical and is expected to worsen. On the other hand, water service interruptions are expected,” Amar said, adding that were 57 approved residential complexes in 2009, all requiring a water supply.

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Groundwater extraction accounts for only 10 percent of the supply. The rest comes from a desalination plant (37 percent), Liloan town (37 percent) and Consolacion (16 percent).

Amar did not discuss the City’s lack of infrastructure, which is reflected in the growing traffic problem. Garbage is another concern that Vice Mayor Mario Amores, author of the resolution, raised.

“There is an urgent need to address the ever-increasing gap between supply and demand for public service,” a paragraph of the resolution said.

Lapu-Lapu City has a total land area of 6,422 hectares. It is home to the international airport, three economic zones and a shipyard.

Amar said Lapu-Lapu City also has an abundant supply of business establishments, housing subdivisions, but not water and power. (EPB/JKV/AIV)