FOR several days already, the Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) has not implemented rotational brownouts despite the limited power supply in the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) grid because of its interruptible load program (ILP).

With the ILP, Veco gets 12 megawatts (mw) more from Cemex’s APO Cement Plant and additional power from Cebu Private Power Corp.

Veco last implemented a rotational brownout on March 10.

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Although there was brownout at past 3 p.m. yesterday, this was not due to a power shortage but a Veco power line that bogged down. The line served the Mabolo, Ermita and Carreta substations.

Ethel Natera, Veco corporate communications manager, said they are happy that the success of the program prompted the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to tell the other distribution utilities to duplicate it in their localities.

Natera said the ERC conducted a public hearing last Feb. 23 at Veco’s Banilad conference where the success of the ILP program was discussed.

Natera told Sun.Star Cebu that Veco launched the ILP three years ago in anticipation of power shortages.

There are 26 big companies that signed a memorandum of agreement with Veco to participate in the ILP. The list includes San Miguel Corp., International

Pharmaceuticals Inc., SM City Cebu, Cola-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc., Ayala Center Cebu and Metro Gaisano, among others.

ILP is voluntary. Under this scheme, the companies operate their own power generators once the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) will announce a power shortage.

Natera said that Veco will pay for the fuel cost of the participating firms.

Companies with their own power plants, like Cemex, the owner of Apo Cement Corp. in the City of Naga, are encouraged to supply power. Cemex supplies at least 12 mw to Veco.

In 2009, the total power supply shortfall amounted to about six million kilowatt hours (kwh). But because of ILP, Veco was able to save three million kwh.

This allowed Veco to lower the rotational brownouts from two hours to just one hour. (EOB)