Yes to JVA for Substation Upgrade in Bacolod

NEGROS Power - Primelectric - MORE Power SCADA-ready mobile substation - power distribution utility - electricity DU - electric supply in Iloilo - CENECO substation upgrade

Upon acquiring the franchise to manage the distribution utility in Iloilo City, MORE Power immediately worked to rehabilitate Iloilo’s ailing power substations. They even acquired a mobile substation to avoid powering down for months due to repairs. Four of the substations of the City of Love were at critical levels already. They are usually overloaded which results to frequent power outages in areas they serve. They need to be refurbished and upgraded ASAP! And so MORE Power did. That is a testament to MORE Power’s commitment to serve the Ilonggos well. They promise the same commitment to Bacolod electric consumers as well. We badly need a substation upgrade in many areas of the city, especially in highly urbanized districts. Read more.

Substation Upgrade in Iloilo City

Five substations in Iloilo City needed major rehabilitation, four of which were already at critical levels. Old equipment needed new parts.

MORE Power spent P1.1 Billion in capex to upgrade, rehabilitate, and build more substations. They purchased new and modern equipment to cover the upgrading of power substations across the city. Moreover, they also built additional substations to attain a looped system that ensures optimum efficiency and reliability of the distribution network.

MORE Power also upgraded the City Proper substations from 20MVA to 33MVA.

MORE Power’s New and Modernized Substation in Megaworld Iloilo

The Iloilo Business District in Mandurriao, a sprawling development by Megaworld Corporation, needed greater electrical capacity. This is why MORE Power built a 30/36 MVA Substation to serve the area. It was energized last March 5 to augment the power needs of this fast-growing business district.

The substation is from ABB/Hitachi and is equipped with modern machinery and technology. It comes with an On-load Tap Changer manufactured by Reinhausen, a global leader in power technology systems based in Germany. It also features a “self-dehydrating breather” by COMEM Group Italy. Moreover, the power transformer also has a digital interface for easy connection to smart grid applications.

Substation Upgrade Only with MORE Power

Another substation will be constructed in the Villa Arevalo district. As the district is at the tail-end of Iloilo City’s power distribution network it usually suffers from technical inefficiency issues like system loss and low voltage.

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The improvement of the existing substations and the construction of new ones will establish a looped power distribution system or network, a feat the previous service provider had never attempted before.

Completing the substations and forming a loop will enhance the reliability of electricity service in Iloilo City allowing MORE Power to dispatch electricity from other sources or substations during periods of technical issues or faults in the system. It will shorten power interruption time and minimize damage to the system for technical personnel can quickly isolate problematic areas and institute repair.

Moreover, a looped system will also improve data gathering and management for it will allow MORE Power to integrate SCADA or the Supervisory Control Data Acquisition into the system, a component required by the Energy Regulatory Commission as part of the Performance-Based Regulation mechanism.

Power industry insiders consider a loop design to be an expensive undertaking, mostly adopted by modernized cities around the world. The P1.1 billion investment will benefit power consumers in the long run.

What’s Happening, CENECO?

At present, 50% of CENECO’s facilities are already 30 years old. Some of those are like ticking time bombs that can crash or bog down any time soon. Do they have plans of replacing them? Are they being adequately maintained? What are they doing to ensure all the equipment can still serve the consumers with stable electricity? I have no first-hand knowledge of the condition of the equipment. Nor do I know what CENECO’s plans are regarding the equipment. I discovered a few things though.

  • They have a very large loan that they have not used on system upgrades or modernization of their system for a highly urbanized city.
  • My observation as a consumer also seems to confirm that CENECO is not keeping up with the rapid progress in the city.

CENECO Cannot Keep Up

Big building projects are sprouting like mushrooms all around Bacolod City. For the longest time, the tallest building in the city was only 7 stories high, but now there are new constructions that are twice as tall. Development is going too fast that it seems the electrical capacity of the present DU is no longer enough.

Brownouts happen too frequently and social media is always buzzing when my friends from different parts of the city rant about power outages or fluctuations. Many fear their appliances breaking down due to low voltages.

During city festivals, when large-wattage equipment is used simultaneously, we often experience erratic fluctuations or power outages across the city. These are regular occurrences during the festival season, like the Masskara Festival, and even during Christmas.

Shouldn’t a well-managed DU have enough foresight to anticipate the needs of the city during special events? Can’t CENECO increase power capacity at least during peak seasons? Or perhaps there should be enough margin to be able to serve the sudden need for power.

We are also experiencing power fluctuations in our place of business. I can no longer count how many times it happens in a day. But I can tell it frequently happens because my UPS beeps now and then as it switches to backup power every time there is a fluctuation. I even had to replace a 1000w AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) one time because of a sudden power surge. Imagine this: the equipment meant to stabilize the electricity flow and safeguard electrical devices and appliances cannot withstand the highly erratic voltage fluctuations from CENECO.

With NEGROS Power

MORE Power is the sister company of Primelectric Holdings Inc. The latter is proposing a JVA with CENECO to form NEGROS Power. Primelectric/NEPC (Negros Power) plans to invest 2 billion pesos right away in a CapEx Fund to start upgrading and improving the distribution facilities.

The new Joint Company will buy new power supplies through fair negotiations and competitive bidding, and they will prioritize using renewable energy sources to keep power rates down.

I kind of envy what they have done in Iloilo City already. I am looking forward to positive changes in our electricity distribution utility, too.

So I say Yes to JVA! Yes to change! We are losing efficiency and money already.

Are you also from Bacolod and think that CENECO has failed in giving us excellent service? Are you as frustrated as I am? You may share your experience with CENECO as a distribution utility and what you think about it having a joint venture agreement with Primelectric Holdings Inc.

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YES to JVA for NEGROS Power

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