Cebu coop to help address Camotes’ power woes

CEBU CITY – The Cebu Electric Cooperative (Cebeco) will help the Camotes group of islands, located east of the Cebu mainland, address the power outages there.

The power problem in the tourist destination has existed for years despite meetings with electric power provider Camotes Electric Cooperative (Celco) and the National Power Corp. -Special Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG).

Ronnel Arañez, Cebeco assistant general manager, said on Tuesday the power coop is willing to help Camotes as part of its corporate social responsibility after learning of the power interruptions there that stretch up to seven to 12 hours daily, hurting consumers and businesses badly.

He said the tolerable number of power trips according to the frequency index for brownouts of the Energy Regulatory Commission is 30 times per year.

However, Camotes has already experienced about 99 power interruptions from January to July alone, according to officials.

“We will help Celco. Electricity is important in driving the economy,” Arañez was quoted as saying in a press statement released by the Cebu provincial government ahead of a meeting at the Capitol on August 12, aimed at discussing how to solve Camotes’ power woes.

In the meeting, officials of Cebeco I, II and III, the NPC-SPUG, Celco, and independent power producer Camotes Corp. would tackle how Camotes could replicate the system used by Bantayan Island for efficient power distribution.

Arañez said in coordination with NPC-SPUG, they target to correct the faults on distribution lines on the island within the week.

However, the upgrade of distribution lines could take months because of the procurement of materials.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia expressed her dismay that Celco, headed by Emmanuel Suarez, and NPC-SPUG, headed by Timoteo Diacor, failed to work on the upgrade of distribution lines despite the meetings late last year.

Mayor Edgar Rama of Poro town in Camotes has also urged for a change in leadership in Celco’s management, citing the consumers’ clamor for better services.

Mayor Greman Solante of Tudela town expressed that Camotes is indeed in a difficult situation, saying that power interruptions are a hindrance to the island’s development.

Camotes resort owner Ran Cartagena said the Cebu governor’s intervention in the situation would help the island’s power problem.

Cartagena said reliable power supply is badly needed to sustain the island’s tourism appeal.

“I hope this problem gets resolved soon to maintain the island tourism vibes of Camotes,” he added.

Garcia said Celco and NPC-SPUG should address their differences in the next meeting as the toll of the power trips on the island’s economic losses has already come to an outrageous level. (PNA)

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