MORE Power replaces obsolete City Proper substation transformer

MORE Power and MIESCOR personnel install the 33MVA transformer at the City Proper substation in Iloilo City. (Photo courtesy of Leo Solinap/MORE Power)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Iloilo City’s power distributor decommissioned the old power transformer at its substation in City Proper district and replaced it with a new one to cope with the ballooning demand for electricity in the district.

MORE Power president Roel Castro and representatives of Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp (MIESCOR) showed the 33 megavolt-ampere (MVA) power transformer to journalists on Saturday.

The new transformer replaces the 30-year-old 20MVA transformer that MORE Power took over when it assumed power distribution services two years ago.

Daily Guardian earlier reported that the City Proper substation, which is the oldest in the city’s power distribution system, was almost exceeding its capacity to transmit power to its feeders.

Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions.

Between the generating station and consumer, electric power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels.

A substation may include transformers to change voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages, or at the interconnection of two different transmission voltages.

Rehabilitation and upgrading of the substations have been the focus of MORE Power’s efforts when it took over in 2020.

Castro said they transferred the loads of the City Proper substation to other substations so they can install the new transformer which they bought from South Korea with help from MIESCOR.

“We had to transfer the load to other substations to avoid massive brownouts in the City Proper area. The growing demand for power in the district and the gradual resumption of some businesses since the pandemic eased also necessitated the installation of the new facility,” he added.

Castro said the temporary transfer of the load caused sporadic supply interruptions apart from the hot weather and surging demand for electricity as businesses recover from the pandemic closures.

MORE Power and MIESCOR are now putting the finishing touches on the new transformer which could go online by end-March 2022.

Engr. Richard Ochavo, president/COO of MIESCOR, said the new power transformer is ready for supervisory control and data acquisition or SCADA system which is a control system architecture comprising computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces for high-level supervision of machines and processes like the power distribution grid.

Ochavo said MORE Power’s new transformer comes with a brand-new automated control system that is accurate enough to read its performance, ensuring efficiency in the system.

He added the new substation transformer is capable of underground connection if MORE Power implements underground cabling in the future.

Castro said they are also working on a new 30MVA substation at Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park area in Mandurriao, another fast-growing area of the city.

The Megaworld substation has a total capacity of 60MVA but MORE Power is starting with the first 30MVA transformer to ease the load of the Mandurriao substation which has been nearing full capacity.

Mandurriao district also hosts numerous residential substations and townships, making it a major electricity consumer in the city.

Castro said they aim to commission the Megaworld substation in September 2022.

“With the City Proper upgrade and Megaworld substations, we will add 43 MVA to our total capacity which is around 40 percent,” he added.

The upgrading of power substations is part of MORE Power’s P1.9-billion rehabilitation project of Iloilo City’s distribution system.

The project is necessary as MORE Power’s consumer base increased from around 63,000 household customers to 88,000 in just two years.