Visayas power demand picks up as local economy recovers

·2 min read

THE power demand in the Visayas is slowly approaching the pre-pandemic levels, an official from the Department of Energy (DOE) in the Visayas said.

According to Jose Rey Maleza, chief of the Energy Industry Management Division of DOE-Visayas, the power demand for this year is increasing to reach the peak demand recorded in 2020.

“If we compare the demand now to the previous year, we can’t say that we have fully recovered for the whole Visayas. Our reference was the demand during the time before the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic in the middle of March 2020,” he told SunStar Cebu in an interview.

In January 2020, before the state of emergency declaration due to Covid-19, a high demand of 2,186 megawatts (MW) was recorded all over the Visayas. After that, power demand was reduced because of the enhanced community quarantine or lockdowns implemented in most areas.

The lessened demand was brought about by the partial and full closure of some industrial and commercial establishments in major cities, like Cebu amid the increase in residential consumption caused by work from home set-ups.

The 2020 peak demand after the state of emergency was at 2,098 MW on Aug. 26, 2020, when Cebu particularly shifted to general community quarantine after seven weeks of hard lockdowns due to the rise of coronavirus infections.

Maleza said for 2021, the DOE has so far recorded a demand peak of 2,154 MW on May 6.

The consumption is only for grid-connected demand.

“You have to take note that residential has only minimal contribution (to consumption) compared to the commercial and industrial,” Maleza said.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said they are conducting a dialogue with the generation companies and utilities firms to get a clearer picture of Cebu’s current power demand situation.

For his part, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said they expect power consumption to go up as businesses reopen and study from home continues.

“However, unexpected developments and black swan events in the export segment can also affect power consumption,” he said. (JOB)

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