Iloilo blackout traced to power plant outages

Published November 7, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

The massive power interruptions that engulfed Iloilo City last week was claimed to have been triggered by shutdown of power plants that were both scheduled and unplanned, according to industry sources in the area.

The October 29-30 electricity service interruptions ensued following the shutdown of two of the major power plants supplying the power needs of the city.

As reported, the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) plant of Global Business Power Corporation was on scheduled shutdown last October 29, so its capacity being out from the system was expected.

However, it was noted that the other plant servicing Iloilo City – the Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC) facility — had been on unscheduled outage and had only been back to online operations after five (5) days or on November 2.

As noted by industry sources, incidents of power plant trippings that were shut down for safety reasons would just normally last for 5-6 hours, hence, the five-day outage on the PCPC generating facility had been considered unusual.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had already launched its investigation on the matter – as the local government of Iloilo had fiercely complaints against the occurrence of such unwarranted power interruptions.

The electricity service provision is hotly contested in Iloilo City – with two warring camps intending to corner the right to continually serve the power needs of consumers in the area.

Panay Electric Company (PECO) had been denied with a new franchise to service the power needs of the city; and Congress had instead awarded a franchise to More Electric and Power Corporation (MEPC) of the Razon group.

Both entities though have their respective limitations – with PECO of the Cacho group not having a franchise; while Razon-led MEPC does not have the physical infrastructure to serve the consumers in that domain.

The bid of the Razon group to have the PECO assets for expropriation is still hotly contested in the Courts – with the Cacho group already elevating the case to the Supreme Court. (MMV)