The three-hour power outage that affected the whole Western Visayas on Sunday night and threatened a dark Christmas has been traced to a total mechanical failure of the three power turbines of Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC), a subsidiary of Global Business Power (GBP).
Petronilo Madrid, GBP first vice president for Panay site operations, confirmed the trouble of Plants 1 and 2 while they are performing preventive maintenance operations of Plant 3.
According to him, they are currently investigating the cause of the trouble in order to identify what triggered the incident.
Madrid, in a radio interview, apologized for the power failure that directly affected consumers of Panay Electric Company (PECO), Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (ILECO I, II and III) and other power distributors in the region.
The plant shutdown affected the areas connected to the grid of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that sources its power from the supply of PEDC.
Meantime, lawyer Joshua Alim, who immediately attacked PECO and issued a threat via his Facebook account that he will bring the total power outage to the attention of Malacañang media and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), drew flak and was met with hostile reactions.
The congressional candidate has capitalized his crusade against the alleged abuses of PECO for his campaign. He initiated the drive to gather signatures which was submitted to the House of Representatives but one of his movers in the person of Mercedez Nava recanted and accused him of falsifying the signatures by not informing the signatories of his real intention of which they believed was a call for political support and not against PECO.
To save himself from embarrassment, Councilor Alim immediately changed his tone and said that the black out could have been prevented if PECO is connected to the grid and draws power supply from Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) as a member and not just exclusive to PEDC.
Pastolero, in an interview with IMT NEWS, clarified that PECO has been connected to the grid since May 2018, and is drawing supply from the spot market.
Engineer Randy Pastolero, vice president for operations of PECO, simply dismissed the claim of Alim, who was criticized by netizens for “playing super hero” at the height of the power outage.
“If you have noticed, the whole region was affected of the power outage and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has issued advisories to the effect. The market obligations of WESM becomes secondary in times of emergencies,” he said
“Relative to the problem caused by the plant shutdown, PECO cannot simply draw supply from WESM. The spot market’s primary and immediate concern is the system operation and security which means stabilizing the grid and not allocating supply to PECO and all other distribution utilities (DUs) affected by the trouble,” Pastolero explained.
“In short, no amount of contract with WESM can make them supply PECO in times of emergencies,” he added.
Pastolero further said the priority of WESM in times like what happened the other day is not their market operations but automatically the systems operations.
“Systems operations are all about the security of the grid which means keeping the balance of supply in all other areas and plants in order to prevent a massive power disruption while the faulty plant is being repaired.”
According to Pastolero, it is wrong for Alim to spread such statement in order to save his face from an apparent ignorant statement where he immediately blamed PECO.
The region is still waiting for the result of the investigation of GBP.IMT