Power summit called amid outage problem in Panay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2009 11:02 AM | Updated as of Mar 17 2009 07:02 PM

The Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council in Western Visayas has convened a power summit amid reports of power shortages on the whole Panay island.

Short term solutions to the problem were proposed at the summit, including the Visayas augmentation program wherein at least 40 megawatts will be powered by the Cebu grid.

The summit was prompted by reports of power shortages in the whole island of Panay. In Iloilo City, for example, power blackouts have occurred almost every day.

The local Department of Energy revealed that the energy demand on Panay island is 210 megawatts, but the total amount of energy generated is 121 megawatts only, a deficit of about 89 megawatts which is enough to cause power shortages.

The situation was also worsened by the impending privatization of two Panay Diesel power plants in Dingle, Iloilo in March 26, which will also result in a power production deficit of 14 megawatts, reports said.

Salcon Power Corp., which won the biddings for the two Panay Diesel power plants, did not attend the summit. Electric cooperatives, meanwhile, said they were concerned about their existing contracts and plan to discuss matters with the National Power Corp.

Meanwhile, 11 power cooperatives in Tacloban City continued to protest the planned power hike in Eastern Visayas.

The Leyte Electric Cooperative II (LEYECO II), which led a signature campaign against the proposed P1.14 per kilowatt-hour increase, said that over 2,000 electric consumers have supported their petition.

"We are happy over the support given to us by some of the consumers and the other electric cooperatives. We just hope that during the hearing they would listen to us," Atty. Gerry Gwen Conde, LEYECO II Manager said.

A hearing on the power hike issue will be held in Cebu City on March 19 and March 20. -- with reports from Regi Adosto, ABS-CBN Iloilo and Jenette Fariola-Ruedas, ABS-CBN Tacloban