THE Central Negros Power Reliability Inc. (Cenpri), one of the power suppliers of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), said the latter has saved about P44 million in power costs for the period of May to middle of July this year.
This was by utilizing its contracted reserve power from Cenpri instead of its relying on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm), the firm said.
Ceneco caters to the largest number of electric consumers in the province including cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay, and the towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.
It currently has a contract of 18.9 megawatts (MW) with Cenpri, formerly Energreen Power Development and Management Corp., for peaking which will expire in 2032.
Cenpri, in a press statement, said the Visayas has been suffering from power shortages due to low power supply in Luzon and ongoing repair of the 90-MW Amlan submarine cable.
The power generation utility said electric distributors in Negros, Panay and Cebu are normally forced to suffer from rolling brownouts due to the manual load shedding or buy power from Wesm.
During these shortages, it said, hourly prices have ranged from P17 to P32.97 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) especially in the afternoon and evening until 10 p.m.
"The savings obtained by Ceneco and its member-consumers averaged to P16 million a month through availing the reserve power from Cenpri," the firm said, adding that the electric cooperative may also have lost P50 million a month in revenues due to the forced brownouts without such reserve power.
For the power generation utility based in Bago City, the economy of the province, especially its capital Bacolod City is growing.
With the number of shopping malls, call centers, schools and medical facilities increasing, and a population relying on the internet for working and studying at home, consumers would be forced to use their own generators thus, incuring expenses on gasoline and diesel.
This will be very expensive for the malls and call centers, schools and hotels, Cenpri said.
The utility, however, said many call centers and large businesses operating in the cities of Bacolod and Talisay were afraid of stopping operations.
"It was Ceneco's 18.9 MW reserve power contract with Cenpri that saved Bacolod City from rolling brownouts," it said.
Ceneco also saved P1 to P21 per kWh from the Wesm prices since Cenpri has guaranteed the cooperative with a price of approximately P11 per kWh.
"Cenpri's 25.9 MW net power plant is ready to run 24/7 with 18.9 MW reserved for Ceneco anytime it needed additional power to protect its customers from short supply and high Wesm prices," it added.
Moreover, energy industry officials estimated that it will take until November for downed large coal plants in Luzon and the 90 MW Amlan submarine cable are expected to service and improve the supply.
It is seen to reduce the Wesm prices in both Luzon and Visayas, it added.
The 25.9-MW net reserve power plant of Cenpri at Barangay Calumangan is connected to Ceneco's transmission and distribution system.
A system innovation of Ceneco, the firm said it is designed to provide the former with assured supply of peaking power from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and protection from high Wesm costs especially when the transmission lines bringing power from Cebu and Panay Island suffer from operational problems and bad weather condition.
When Leyte was hit by an earthquake and some geothermal plants and power lines were damaged, areas in the Visayas experienced widespread brownouts for weeks, it added.