The Busuanga Electric Cooperative (BISELCO) plans to bid out a 5-megawatt power supply contract to meet the Calamianes area’ growing tourism driven demand.

Ruth Fortes, BISELCO general manager, said their current demand already exceeds its 4.6 megawatts contracted supply from its lone power provider Calamian Island Power Corporation (CIPC). She said the demand now peaks at 6.9 megawatts.

The towns of Busuanga and Coron have been experiencing unscheduled power supply interruptions, Fortes said. These towns are experiencing rotational brownouts from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day from March 13 and recently extended until April 3.

“Exceeded na kami sa contract namin, which is reserve namin dapat kapag mag-PMS (preventive maintenance schedule) sila ng kanilang mga engine ay 24 hours pa rin pero lahat na ng engine nila ay tumatakbo because of high demand namin,” she said.

The CSP was supposed to happen before the pandemic but a decrease in power demand was observed at more than half due to the absence of the tourism industry and establishment operations.

The peak of tourist arrival is observed during the onset of the dry season or summer. Fortes recalled that BISELCO recorded 7.2 MW demand in 2019 during the same season.

“Pero pagdating ng June, rainy season ay bumababa naman. Kaya yon ang chance na mahahabol na naman namin uli pagbalik ng December, iyon na naman ang start ng peak,” she added.

For 2023, BISELCO needs to resubmit its Distribution Development Plan (DDP) and Power Supply Procurement Plan (PSPP) for its CSP.

Fortes said BISELCO is now speeding up the competitive selection process (CSP). and has already requested emergency power.

“We requested emergency power, which is approved na rin siya. But ang approval kasi ay walang subsidy (UCME), which is mabigat para sa MCO,” she said.

“Ang engine ng CIPC is tatlong 2.5 megawatt, abot siya ng hanggang 7 point something plus yong kanilang 800 (kW) na diesel fuel na generator sa Busuanga kaya umaabot kami ng almost 8.3 MW. Kaya sa ngayon, 6.9 MW, wala pa problema. Huwag lang magkaroon ng problema ang mga makina,” she added.

The gradual recovery of tourist traffic started in March 2022 and figures increased more as 2023 started. Almost 100 percent of establishments are now back in operation in Coron and Busuanga, she added.

BISELCO expressed its hope that a new power provider will be selected within this year while it has not yet reached the contracted energy with CIPC. BISELCO has a 15-year contract with CIPC until 2029, where 7.734MW Coron Power Station and 910kW Busuanga Power Station will supply the power requirements.

“Ang contract namin is until 2029, which is more or less by next year mami-meet na namin (contracted energy). Hindi na kami aabot ng 2029 dahil sa biglang increase ng demand ng Coron and Busuanga,” she said.

The electric cooperative distributes power to around 16,000 households in the Calamian Group of Islands through CIPC. BISELCO was supported by CIPC after CSP in 2014, to augment the power supply aside from being provided by National Power Corporation- Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG).

CIPC is also the provider won in CSP for Culion and Linapacan but it remains pending approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), she said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.