Electric coops to pool power loads to help solve looming power shortage

By Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA 1, Ilocos Norte

LAOAG CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) – Electric Cooperatives (ECs) from the Cordilleras and Ilocos region will folow the lead of their central Luzon counterparts which have combined their power requirements to encourage more energy production from power generators.

At least eight ECs, which have agreed to pool their electricity requirements for the next two decades, said combining energy will also help cushion the looming power shortage in the country.

A total of 103 megawatts (MW) were committed for pooling by the ECs from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga-Apayao, La Union, Mountain Province, Pangasinan, Benguet and Abra.

The 103 MW is considered as the pooled “uncontracted” base load demand of the eight ECs from 2019 to 2039. The “base load demand” referred to as the forecasted minimum capacity of power for a distribution utility should provide for its customers- consumers.

Director Reynaldo M. Lazo, president of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) board of directors, said the idea of combining the energy requirement of the eight ECs was realized to attract more power generation investors and to evade experiencing power crisis in the future.

“(With a combined energy requirement) We could purchase power supply at a lower price from the power generation sector and at the same the power generators are also assured of a ready market for the energy they produce,” Lazo explained.

Out of the committed power demand, INEC had the largest commitment with 51 MW; 7 MW for Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco); 14 MW for Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco); ISECO – 7 MW; Kalinga – 5 MW; La Union -8 MW; Mountain Province – 8 MW; and Pangasinan Electric Cooperative (PANELCO) III – 10 MW.

However, the 103 MW committed to combined by the ECs are the portions of their demands that have not been covered by their existing power supply agreements.

Lazo said at least six power-generating companies attended the pre-bid conference conducted by the Beneco’s technical working group last December 13, 2014 in Baguio City. Among these companies were the GN Power, SO Energy, Global Power, Meralco, First Gen and AES.

“These power companies have the time to sumbit their bids until February this year,” Lazo added.#