MORE Electric and Power Corporation’s (MORE Power) sustained efforts to modernize Iloilo City’s power distribution system will be fully realized by 2025 after P1.1 billion was approved as an additional investment for 2022 to 2025.
The amount brings MORE Power’s total investment in the city to P3 billion in five years or from 2020 to 2025.
The sole power distribution company invested P1.9 billion in Emergency Capital Expenditures to kick start rehabilitation of the power system while the COVID-19 pandemic was setting in in 2020. Despite setbacks caused by the global health crisis, MORE Power was able to carry out rehabilitation works gradually.
Upon the easing of health protocols, the company lay down its road map to intensify the implementation of its modernization plan by effecting “relief and recovery” works to stabilize the city’s power system which suffered negligence from the previous franchise holder despite exorbitant rates to its consumers. From minor repairs, it moved forward to major works that eventually touched on the entire power distribution system.
REHABILITATING A POWER SYSTEM AT GROUND ZERO
MORE Power took over operations in lieu of a 25-year franchise issued by the Philippine Congress and signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on February 14, 2019. However, it took over a ‘Super Storm hit’ power system like ground zero after Typhoon Yolanda with its majority of facilities old, dilapidated, and irreparable.
Initial assessment of old infrastructures and systems showed no signs of intention to complement the modernization agenda of Iloilo City from the previous power distribution utility.
Hence, the emergency intervention was both physical and surgical. The efforts entailed the replacement of old wooden electric poles, distribution lines, meters, and transformers. Initial works replaced around 1,715 electric poles, 559 distribution transformers, and 21,092 electric meters.
There were also 619 electric meters on the poles that were transferred and 330 elevated metering centers, installed 8.36 km of neutral conductors, replaced 12.98 km of primary line, and 15.98 km of secondary line. It installed 240 Animal Guards, 189 Sets of Silicone Rubber Insulator, 31 Automatic Circuit Reclosers (ARCs), and 15 Load Break Switches (LBS).
This was followed by rehabilitation of substations located in Jaro, LaPaz, Molo, Mandurriao, and City Proper; improved consumer management; and a massive anti-pilferage campaign called Oplan Valeria. The anti-pilferage and anti-illegal connection drive of MORE Power resulted in an exponential reduction of system loss from 28 percent to 7.8 percent or below the allowable cap by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Furthermore, it streamlined the application process for consumers by going down to the barangays and conducting a house-to-house drive to facilitate the application process. The effort resulted in increased legitimate metered consumers from 50,000 before it took over to more than 86,000 today.
The power company also established a 69-kilovolt transmission station in Brgy. Banuyao in LaPaz district to reconnect the city to the power grid managed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). The project allowed MORE Power to access blended power supply from various power providers who are dispatching electricity Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) resulting in lowered power rates.
These were efforts that formed part of the P1.9 billion Emergency Capital Expense.
LOOPING THE SYSTEM FOR IMPROVED EFFICIENCY AND RELIABILITY
The additional P1.1 billion infusion in Capital Expenses will cover the upgrading of power substations across the city and the establishment of additional substations to attain a looped system to ensure optimum efficiency and reliability of the distribution network.
All of the five substations will undergo surgical rehabilitation to replace old equipment with new parts.
The City Proper substation is now uprated from 20MVA to 33MVA while a new substation is being constructed at the Megaworld, a facility that would provide power reliability in the area and surrounding barangays.
Another substation will be constructed in the Villa Arevalo district for it is considered at the tail-end of Iloilo City’s power distribution network, as such, it usually suffered from technical inefficiency issues like systems loss and low voltage.
The improvement of the existing and the construction of new substations will finally establish a looped power distribution system or network which was never been attempted before by the previous service provider.
Completing the substations and forming a loop will enhance the reliability of electricity service in Iloilo City allowing MORE Power to dispatch electricity from other sources or substations during periods of technical issues or faults in the system. It will shorten power interruption time and minimize damage to the system for technical personnel can quickly isolate problematic areas and institute repair.
Moreover, a looped system will also improve data gathering and management for it will allow MORE Power to integrate SCADA or the Supervisory Control Data Acquisition into the system, a component required by the ERC as part of the Performance-Based Regulation mechanism.
For power industry insiders, a loop design is an expensive undertaking mostly adopted by modernized cities around the world, thus the P1.1billion is seen to be beneficial to power consumers in the long run.