Cebu guv seeks ERC intervention in Bantayan Island power woes

Cebu guv seeks ERC intervention in Bantayan Island power woes

CEBU CITY – Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has appealed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to issue a Provisional Authority to Operate (PAO) to a new power generator, Isla Norte Energy Corp. (INEC), in the northern island of Bantayan.

Garcia on Thursday sought ERC’s immediate intervention so INEC could supply the much-needed power supply gap in the island to address its energy woes that have existed for years.

She made the call during a meeting at the Provincial Capitol with officials of the ERC, INEC, Bantayan Electric Cooperative (Banelco), Bantayan Island Power Corp. (BIPCOR), and the mayors of Santa Fe and Madridejos towns.

INEC executives said during the meeting that they have complied with the necessary documentary requirements for them to be granted the PAO.

In a Facebook post, Bantayan’s power distributor Banelco informed the island residents that INEC finished its testing and commissioning on October 18 and BIPCOR has resumed providing the power supply.

However, the power distributor warned that due to the unreliable equipment of BIPCOR, the island may still experience rotational brownouts.

Banelco requires an average of 7.5 megawatts (MW) daily to supply the whole island.

INEC, a partnership between Vivant Energy Corp. and Gigawatt Power, Inc., has built a 23.3-MW diesel power plant that would provide the long-term power requirement of the island.

It was awarded a 15-year contract to supply Banelco following a successful competitive selection process.

Its contract is supposed to start on November 8.

However, if the ERC issues a PAO or Certificate of Compliance to INEC, the latter could start supplying power to Bantayan as soon as possible.

During the meeting, Garcia said she was “pleading” to the ERC to act on their request so that Bantayan’s power situation would improve and residents and businesses do not have to suffer from power outages.

She said that ensuring a stable power supply is even “more needed” nowadays as the province focuses on economic recovery.

Garcia officially wrote a letter dated Oct. 20, 2021 to ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera to air the provincial government’s request. (PNA)

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