LEGAZPI CITY: Albay Governor Joey Salceda sought the support of national power industry players to avert a power crisis after the 33-year-old 20-MVA transformer at the Bitano substation of Albay Power Energy Corporation (APEC) here conked out last week.

    Salceda had immediately coordinated for the procurement of two new 10 MVA transformers to stave off the crisis, the first of which was delivered on Monday and the second unit expected within the week. A third transformer of the same specification was also earmarked for Tabaco City in Albay’s first district, where a power crisis also looms.

    Salceda also linked up with the business sector to address the problem. As of Tuesday, large areas of the province’s commercial sector were expected to be energized. The Bitano power substation supplies the major part of Albay’s second district including this city.

    APEC is the former Albay Electric Cooperative, taken over by San Miguel Power Corporation last year to save it from mounting debts, mismanagement and perennial losses.

    “I know the context of this divisive issue but it would have been worst if Aleco [APEC] is not with private management. First, there would have been no cash to promptly order and pay for the 10-MVA transformers since collections was a pestering problem. Second, for almost six months now, there has been no threat of disconnection due to the SMEC takeover. Third, the Albay price is P11/kw-hr net of tax, compared to P14 in the NCR,” he added.

    Coordinating with Salceda, APEC first tapped the 10 MVA power station of Embarcadero Land Ventures Inc owned by businessman Elizaldy Co to ease up the impact of the power shortage.

    Salceda said among those who readily helped in harnessing the two 10-MVA transformers were Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Environment Secretary Ramo Paje, Administrator Edith Bueno of the National Electrification Administration and Commissioner Ina Asirit of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

    Salceda said APEC did its best to meet the timetable to normalize the power situation at the earliest time.

    APEC had imposed a rotational brownout following the breakdown last week to assure the populace of equitable supply of electric current until the normal supply is restored.

    Salceda noted that things were aggravated by persistent surges in load demand (partly due to increased economic activities and tourist arrivals).

    “We have a population of 1.3 million. Add to this the 650,000 tourists we have and you will surely get what we have if the private sector does not plan and does not invest,” he pointed out.


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