THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) yesterday told the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) that by next month, the power situation in Cebu will stabilize.

NGCP officer-in-charge Raul Galano apprised the PB of the power situation last week.

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He reported that from Feb. 8 to 12, power demand was higher than the supply capacity, which resulted in power deficiency.

Every day from that week, Cebu had brownouts during peak hours in the morning, afternoon and evening. Peak hours are from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There was no load cutting during the weekend, including Valentine’s Day, said Galano.

While demand was higher than the power supply at daytime yesterday, no manual load cutting was implemented because Luzon was able to supply power to the Visayas, Galano said.

Today, the Mahanagdong Power Plant in Leyte is expected to end its preventive maintenance and will fully load 60 megawatts (mw) of power.

Tomorrow, the new power plant in Toledo City will be synchronized in the system.

The chance of power cutting for the rest of the week is “slim,” said Galano.

Over the weekend, the Toledo Power Plant will be tested. It is expected to raise 80 mw of power and supply a net of 70 mw.

“On Feb. 22 and 23, the Cebu Thermal Power Plant is expected to be on line, hopefully. It is servicing today,” said Galano.

PB Member Victor Maambong asked whether NGCP, which is privately run, has enough teeth to tell power companies to run.

Galano said the preventive maintenance shutdown has been postponed several times.

For his part, Department of Energy (DOE)-Visayas Director Antonio Labios said their national office has issued a memorandum that there will be no more preventive maintenance shutdowns after this month.

Labios noted that the immediate concerns of the DOE are the power situation during elections and the implementation of the wholesale electricity spot market in the Visayas to promote competition.

Labios said wind power sources in Cebu are being considered. But their development will depend on investors as the government can’t make its own power plant.

DOE considered the mountain areas in the towns of Alcoy, Carmen and Daanbantayan as possible sources of wind power.

Labios said wind power is viable in Cebu, without playing bias against coal, oil and gas sources.

The more sources of energy, he said, the better for the country.

Labios said the matter has to be looked into further since the government solely depends on investors in setting up the equipment, to make sure the wind power source is useful the whole year.

He cited the case of the wind power in Ilocos, which doesn’t operate the whole year.

Wind power sources must be used the whole year, not just for a couple of months, Labios said.

Labios couldn’t give an estimate of the amount needed to invest in the wind power energy. It will need donations from other countries. Ilocos has the government of Denmark as partner.

Labios said there are informal studies conducted by the University of San Carlos (USC) whose potential has been tapped yet.

Labios hopes this year there will be donors from other countries for the equipment.

Also being considered by DOE are clean sources of energy, like hydro and solar sources.

He also urged household consumers to conserve energy by turning their refrigerators off for at least an hour daily.