CENTRAL Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) is initiating measures to mitigate the occurrence of power interruptions due to power shortages during peak hours.

Ceneco president Edward Gasambelo bared Wednesday that the electric cooperative has filed a request before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for provisional authority to implement the Voluntary Load Curtailment Program (VLCP).

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Under the VLCP, big electric consumers like malls may use their own generating sets during peak hours, so that the power to be supplied to them can be channeled to residential consumers, thus avoiding the need for load shedding of residential areas whenever there is a power shortage.

In return, the additional cost incurred by these companies for operating their own electric generation sets will be paid by Ceneco. This additional cost, however, will be passed on by Ceneco in a prorated basis among other residential and commercial consumers.

Gasambelo explained that the big businesses which will avail of the VLCP have to be compensated because it will be costlier for them to operate their own generating sets which consume diesel fuel than if they source their power from Ceneco or other electric distribution utilities.

VLCP was suggested by four private organizations in the city as a temporary but immediate solution to the power shortage problem in Ceneco's service areas.

The group includes the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Integrated Bar of the Philippines -Negros Occidental Chapter, and the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants -Negros Occidental Chapter.

Ceneco's service areas encompass Bacolod City, Murcia, Silay City, Bago City and Talisay City.

Gasambelo stressed, though, that the VLCP is just a short-term solution. Establishments can switch to back to Ceneco's power source when the power supply stabilizes, as when Ceneco shall have already bought additional power supply from independent power producers.

But Gasambelo said that without the authority from ERC, they could not implement the program yet. It will take about 18 weeks before the ERC can to act on their application for provisional authority to implement the program, said Gasambelo. (TED)