WELL, now we have brownouts at a time when the rains also bring in cold nights and we need some heat to keep us warm. At the time when there was excessive heat from El Niño, there were too many brownouts. But now, we are faced with a power shortage.

Early report of the shortage said that the Thermal Power Plant of the CNP (Cebu-Negros-Panay) grid bogged down. There was no report on why the thermal plant stopped operating.

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Alternate power from coal-fired plants in Toledo City, generating a total of 84 megawatts, has reportedly been tested and found feasible. But the two plants cannot yet supply power to the CNP grid because these have still to be turned over to the Cebu Energy Development Corp. by their contractor, Formosa Heavy Industries, Inc.

In any case, the Department of Energy’s information officer in Manila said they are still awaiting report from the SPC Power Corp., which is maintaining and operating the TPC I on why the plant stopped operating, effectively reducing power supply to the CNP grid. The DOE information officer said that the power deficiency of the CNP grid the other day was 130 megawatts and hit the towns of Liloan and Consolacion, the areas in Mandaue and Cebu City at mid-morning, and later Talisay, Minglanilla and Naga.

The brownouts in Cebu persisted yesterday, although rather sporadically, as the Visayas Electric Co. and Cebu Electric Cooperative, both power distributors, initiated their own distribution program in the face of the CNP power shortage.

The Cebu Thermal Plant in Naga City that is operated by the SPC is under a so-called mandatory maintenance, as well as CEDC’s Unit 1 in Toledo City that could have generated 84 megawatts.

Both these circumstances indicate a need for systematic programming of plant operation.

Well, it seems that the DOE had projected a peak of 1,034 megawatts but the power supply was only 869 megawatts, showing a deficiency of 165. The two CEDC power plants are reportedly supplying directly to the CNP grid a total of 166 megawatts—Unit 1 with 84 and Unit 2 with 82—just about enough to cover the 165 megawatts deficit of the CNP grid during the DOE-projected peak power demand at more than a thousand megawatts.

Thus, under this circumstance, it would appear that things could be under control here. But for how long would it be?

There is an extreme need for anticipatory planning here, if the CNP grid, to which Cebu unquestionably belongs, should be continuously self-sufficient in power supply. We need some urgent prayers here for a divine intervention.