Bacolod City

Bacolod, Negros Occidental officials agree to hold power summit for self-sufficiency

Reymund Titong

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Bacolod, Negros Occidental officials agree to hold power summit for self-sufficiency

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 call for a power summit comes barely a week after Western Visayas saw four days of blackouts, which resulted in huge economic losses in the region

BACOLOD, Philippines – Bacolod and Negros Occidental political leaders are engaged in discussions to coordinate an energy summit that would bring together key stakeholders in the power sector, and work towards achieving self-sufficiency in electricity supply for Negros Island.

Bacolod Mayor Albee Benitez told a news conference on Monday, January 8, that he made the proposal, and the city government and Negros Occidental provincial government, under Governor Jose Lacson, agreed to organize the power summit in February. 

Benitez said it is important for power generation to power distribution players to meet and discuss a plan with other stakeholders.

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PRESS BRIEFING: Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez conducts a press briefing on Monday, January 8. Screengrab, Albee Benitez’s Facebook page

The call for a power summit came barely a week after Western Visayas experienced four days of blackouts, which resulted in huge economic losses in the region.

The Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion (LEDIP) center in Iloilo said the city alone incurred as much as P500 million in losses during the first two days of the power outage. 

On Friday, January 5, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced that the power supply in the Panay Island power sub-grid was fully restored.

Benitez said there was a need to achieve a self-sufficient power supply on the island by harnessing its power-generation capacity. He also said fair and square terms should be laid out. 

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“We want a self-sufficient power supply. Looking at it, we generate about 700 megawatts and our consumption is just about 440 megawatts. From that, we see that we still have a surplus on Negros Island. If we can harness our locally-produced power for our own consumption, we don’t need to rely on other power plants elsewhere,” Benitez told local reporters. 

He said power plant operators on Negros Island should give priority to local consumers before supplying other areas, a measure intended to prevent power outages on the island in the future.

Negros has a capacity of 667.9 megawatts being generated by 18 diesel-, gas turbine-, geothermal-, hydro-, biomass-, and solar-powered plants.

On January 2, several cities and provinces in Western Visayas were thrust into darkness as a region-wide power outage unfolded. The disruption resulted from the simultaneous shutdown of all power plants across Panay Island.

Residents and businesses in the affected areas found themselves contending with the abrupt loss of electricity, leading to disruptions in normal daily activities.

Investigations are underway to ascertain the exact cause of the power plant shutdown on the island. – Rappler.com

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