Power outages hurting Oro's business

THE rotating blackouts are taking its toll on businesses in Cagayan de Oro, especially the small and medium enterprises which don’t have generator sets.

Efren Uy, president of Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Oro Chamber), said those without gensets, especially small and medium enterprises, are inconvenienced in the loss of business opportunities while those which have gensets would have additional operating costs or expenses during the power outages.

“For every 10 kiloVoltamps (kVa) capacity of gensets, you need around one liter of diesel fuel which is around P50 per hour of operation. For those businesses which couldn’t afford, they really have to stop their operations. The multiplier of losses will be around P100 per kilowatt hour of use,” Uy said in a text message sent to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday.

He said that for businesses to cope with the power outages affecting their establishments, they have to adjust the working hours and conserve energy by minimizing the use of high energy consumption appliance.

Despite the expenses incurred during these brownouts, the businesses would less likely increase their prices because of the competition and would not likely cut the salary of their workers just to cope with the losses from their operations.

Jenny Diaz, who works at a salon and spa in Pabayo and Cruz Taal streets, said they could not offer their salon’s major services such as hair rebonding and relaxing which both require electricity to operate the steamers.

Only a few would also walk in the salon for a haircut on a very warm temperature, she said.

That afternoon, she hoped for the power to return immediately so that customers could come in and avail their services.

Her son commented that the only establishments earning during the long power outages are the malls, as they have generator sets that could power air-conditions luring people to flock to these establishments.

“They go to the mall because it is cooler there than in their houses or workplaces without air-condition,” he said.

Maintaining Casa Isabella’s power is also a hard job, said Engr. Marillo S. Paano, hotel’s manager.

When the brownouts were still at four hours, they only supplied their generator set with 34 liters of diesel.

Now, they have to keep the generator running for seven and a half hours, supplying it with about 60 liters of diesel. Adding to the hassle is the noise the generators make.

Paano said that they always have to keep the power on to use the facilities of the hotel like the air-conditioners, water heaters, and computers while keeping the use of lights at a minimum.

He said that if the long brownouts will continue, he might have to close the business.

“Dako na kaayo mi’g cost especially nag-increase pa gyud and taxes. Muhawa na lang mi ani sa Cagayan (We are spending a lot the cost especially that the taxes increased. We’d rather leave Cagayan de Oro),” Paano said.

Recently, sales in restaurants and hotels in the city have been badly hurt after the recent bombing in July last year. The tight competition also of the hotels in the city is adding to the challenge of keeping businesses thrive.

Now, the brownout is also adding to the predicament, he said.

Steag State Power Inc. (SPI) has synchronized its Unit 2 electric generating sets adding 105 megawatt to the grid at 6:46 p.m. on May 7.

The coal-fired power plant's two units of electric generating sets were damaged during the February 27 blackout this year. It is hoped that its Unit 1 could go online on June 1 this year.

In a text message on Wednesday afternoon, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) clarified that the extended power outages in the city are due to generation deficiency.

The city's current power supply allocation is reduced to around 35 MW based on the load to maintain matrix issued by the National Power Corporation.

NGCP assures the consumers that it is ready to transmit all available power supply to its customers in the city.
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