APEC optimistic of ERC's P1.8-B upgrade approval

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- Albay Power Energy Corp. (APEC) expressed optimism that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will grant the firm's request for PHP1.8-billion Capital Expenditures (Capex) for upgrading the power facilities in the province.

Carlos Laruza, APEC general manager, in an interview on Thursday said the Capex, once approved by ERC, would upgrade the antiquated power transformers and transmission lines that have hampered their operations since the firm took over management from the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco).

He said the upgrade will help them give thousands of consumers efficient and effective power service.

"Upgrade is necessary to give more efficient and sustainable electricity supply to the Albayanos," Laruza said.

He said APEC's upgrading process would take at least a five-year period for the facilities to be fully operational.

Laruza, however, explained that if Capex will not be approved by the ERC, “it will take the firm 10-15 years to push through with the needed upgrading because we will get it from our PHP5.6-million monthly revenue".

He said currently, APEC provides 130 megavolt amperes (MVA) of power to hundreds of households in the 15 towns and three cities of the province. Once the Capex is approved, the power capacity would be increased to 155 MVA.

For the 1st district of Albay, the existing capacity is 25 MVA which will be upgraded to 35 MVA; for 2nd district, 80 MVA; while for 3rd district, from 25 MVA to 40 MVA.

APEC has monthly “system losses” of 11 percent due to illegal connections, defective kilowatt-hour meters and other forms of pilferages.

Laruza said every one percent system loss is equivalent to more than a million pesos or about PHP27.5 million losses per month.

"That is why we are visiting all the city and municipal mayors of the province and even the village chiefs to seek their assistance in bringing down the system loss,” he said.

Laruza expressed hope that local officials would encourage their constituents to pay their monthly bills on time and help APEC combat illegal connections and other pilferages to solve the problem on system losses. (PNA)