Iloilo City to see reduced weekend power outages

More Power Photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), the electric distribution utility of Iloilo City, announced a reduction in scheduled power interruptions on weekends as it approaches the fifth year of upgrading and rehabilitating the city’s electric power infrastructure.

MORE Power said power interruptions will be trimmed down from the current 12-13 hours to just 8 hours, starting in July this year.

The scheduled interruptions are part of an ongoing modernization and development plan aimed at upgrading the electric power distribution system across all 180 villages in Iloilo City, with a goal to modernize the system by February 2025.

“We understand the inconvenience that our consumers have faced with 12-13 hour power interruptions almost every week. That’s why, starting in July 2024, we will shorten the duration of scheduled power interruptions,” said Engr. Bernard Bailey Del Castillo, Vice President for the Network Development and Operations Group.

Del Castillo emphasized that the comprehensive rehabilitation required to modernize the power grid is a lengthy process that has already achieved significant progress.

“When we took over, almost all of the electrical facilities throughout the city were either defective or obsolete, requiring the replacement of nearly everything,” he explained.

“While we conduct preparatory work through live line methods without interruptions on weekdays, we need to have brownouts on weekends to replace old poles and finalize the setup to ensure the safety of our linemen,” he added.

MORE Power began operations in 2020, following the signing of Republic Act No. 11212 by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019, granting the Enrique Razon-owned company a 25-year franchise to distribute power in Iloilo City.

Over the past four years, MORE Power has heavily invested in infrastructure upgrades to enhance distribution services and support the city’s progress.

Key projects include the 33 megavolt-amperes (MVA) Diversion Substation, the 30/36 MVA Megaworld Substation, and various mobile substations serving as temporary backups during the overhaul of land-based substations.

To date, MORE Power has replaced and installed over 7,000 poles, added 45 automatic circuit reclosers and 22 load break switches for immediate power restoration during faults, purchased modern testing equipment, and initiated an underground distribution system along Calle Real.

From 2022 to June 2024, approximately 50 circuit kilometers of lines have been replaced and reconductored with tree wire, insulated primary lines designed to prevent power interruptions caused by animals and trees.

MORE Power has assured Iloilo City consumers that they will be notified of any scheduled power interruptions 3 to 4 days in advance to allow for adequate preparation.

“Although the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers states that customers should be informed of scheduled power interruptions 48 hours prior, at MORE Power, we are committed to notifying our consumers 3-4 days in advance, giving them ample time to plan their weekends,” Del Castillo added.

Del Castillo clarified that the scheduled power outages are not only initiated by MORE Power but also include requests from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

He noted that MORE Power sometimes takes advantage of NGCP’s scheduled maintenance works to avoid wasting the long hours of no power in its franchise area. NGCP’s power interruptions include wood pole replacements and correction of defects in its transmission line.

During weekend power interruptions, MORE Power committed to providing affected customers with free mobile charging and water, especially during the summer when water is scarce.