The P14.50 (29¢) per kilowatt-hour rate of Guimaras Electric Cooperative (Guimelco) is a burden to Guimaras consumers. Add to that cost, the regular frequent power interruptions. No wonder this situation is turning off potential investors.
“How are we going to improve the economy of the island-province when our electricity is very costly P14.50?” Guimaras Governor Gumarin recently asked.
The Governor also questioned why companies would invest in Guimaras with all the brownouts we experience here. What business would want to pour their money into a place where there is an unstable, expensive electricity source?
He has a point.
Gumarin, along with other local officials, led by Vice Governor John Edward Gando, are working to resolve the problems of the island-province’s sole power distributor.
And therein lies the rub. SOLE power distributor. No competition.
LOWER COSTS ON THE WAY?
The Governor added that they see hope in Guimelco’s conversion into a full-fledged cooperative.
Once that happens, Gumarin hopes to see at least a two peso reduction this year and another one or two peso in 2018.
Guimaras aims to be Western Visayas’ agro-eco tourism capital. But the goal is far-fetched when one of the most basic tourism needs – power – is unreliable.
Gumarin said that with the farm in San Lorenzo, and its planned expansion in Sibunag, “Guimaras has more than sufficient supply of electricity.”
Problem is, the residents of Guimaras are not reaping the benefits of those windmills. 27 already completed. 20 more in the works.
NO WINDMILL POWER FOR GUIMARAS
However, the island-province is NOT sourcing its power from the wind farm but from another private power supplier in nearby Negros Island.
He explained that TAREC has a five-year lock-in period with the national government, through the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
This means the power generated in the wind farm is directed to the grid and sold to power distributors.
Gumarin said that this year, the provincial government is working to have a representative negotiate with TAREC for the provision of direct supply of power to Guimelco.
“TAREC plans to build additional wind turbines in Sibunag, and we will capitalize on that, hopefully,” Gumarin said. The governor said he wants Guimelco to source its power from the wind farm.
WINDMILLS ARE UNSTABLE POWER SOURCE ACCORDING TO GUIMELCO
But I was told by an female employee working on the Guimelco Hotline last October 2016, that the windmills in Guimaras are “unstable.” This was her reply to me when I asked why Guimelco does not receive any power from the windmills in operation here.
Then why is TransAsia, aka, TAREC, the company that owns and operates the wind farm, selling all of their power outside the island?
And why are they building more windmills?
Will our rates eventually go down? I hope so. Guimaras is said to have the highest cost of electricity of any province in the Philippines. We’re paying about 100 US Dollars a month now and experiencing power frequent power outages. Sometimes three brown outs a day, sometimes 15 or more a month. Any reduction in the rates would be welcomed. Any reduction in the brownouts, would also be appreciated.
(Source: Daily Guardian Iloilo)