Negros Occidental

3 Negros Occidental cities brace for 12-hour power outage this weekend

Erwin Delilan

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3 Negros Occidental cities brace for 12-hour power outage this weekend

BLACKOUT. Residents and workers do their tasks under candlelight after a massive blackout hits Iloilo City on January 2.

Arnold Almacen/Iloilo City Mayor's Office

The scheduled power interruption will affect the Negros Occidental cities of Bacolod, Silay, and Talisay

BACOLOD , Philippines – Power consumers in three cities in Negros Occidental will experience a 12-hour power outage this weekend, but it will have nothing to do with the power crisis now gripping the Visayas following the shutdown of several power generation plants.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) announced the power supply interruption scheduled from 6 am to 6 pm this Sunday, April 21. It will affect the cities of Bacolod, Silay, and Talisay.

In their advisories, the NGCP and Ceneco said the scheduled supply interruption would allow them to conduct line maintenance, improve electric poles, and substations.

Talisay Mayor Nilo Antonio Neil Lizarez expressed dismay, saying a 12-hour blackout at a time when temperatures are rising due to the El Nino phenomenon-induced drought would inconvenience people and take a toll on local businesses.

“Still, we can do nothing,” Lizares said, expressing exasperation.

The announcement came on the third day of a power crisis that gripped Visayas and resulted in rotational blackouts blamed by the NGCP on the shutdown of 13 power plants and the derated capacities of nine others.

The NGCP has raised the alert level due to the thinning power supply – or the loss of 696.7 megawatts –  in the Visayas grid. Luzon is also facing a similar crisis.

As of Thursday, April 18, the NGCP said Visayas’ power capacity stood at 2,662 MW against a peak demand of 2,465 MW, leaving it only with a 197-MW reserve.

The Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) called for an explanation about how it was possible for nearly three dozen power plants in the Visayas and Luzon, according to NGCP, to suspend operations early this week.

“We are in a power crisis right now. But it’s crazy and funny to declare that 19 power plants in Luzon and 13 others in the Visayas simultaneously shut down… This is really next to impossible,” said Frank Carbon, MBCCI’s chief executive officer.

He added, “Where are these power plants? Can NGCP name them one by one? Power consumers in the Visayas need to know the truth. And where’s the DOE (Department of Energy) now?”

Carbon said he was worried that the situation in Visayas would worsen if the national government prioritized the Luzon power grid.

The MBCCI called on Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez to call for an emergency meeting among stakeholders to immediately map out contigency measures.

Carbon and his group also called for the creation of a power supply coordinating council under the Provincial Development Council to focus on addressing the problem about the local power supply.

Without a sufficient power supply, according to Carbon, NGCP’s Mindanao-Visayas Interconnectivity Project and the newly inaugurated P67-billion, 230-kilovolt Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) backbone project will be rendered “inutile.”

“What’s the use of such transmission facilities if there is no power to transmit?” Carbon pointed out. –

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