World-famous island in Bohol gets 24-hour electricity supply
BOHOL, Philippines – Balicasag, an island in Bohol province globally known for diving and snorkeling due to its rich marine life, is now fully energized.
The National Power Corporation's Small Power Utilities Group (Napocor-SPUG) installed a diesel-fed generator set that can supply electricity to some 225 households around the clock.
During a switch-on ceremony Monday, September 4, officials announced that a 24-hour power service will enhance economic activity and people's productivity.
This ends decades of insufficient power supply that was available only from 6 pm to 11 pm in Balicasag Island, which is also famous for whales and dolphin watching tours.
Power is a crucial need for an island that is frequented by thousands of tourists every year and is home to the only Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA)-operated facility in the Visayas, the Balicasag Island Dive Resort, said Panglao Mayor Nila Paredes Montero.
The project, according to Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, is a result of the commitments made by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi during the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held in August on Panglao Island, and where energy experts and policymakers from 34 countries in Asia participated.
During the ACD summit, Cusi learned that most of the 111 off-the-grid islands surrounding mainland Bohol remain in darkness, or with limited power supply at night. He instructed Napocor president Pio Benavides to look for solutions.
"We are now mapping out which of these islands in Bohol will receive a 24-hour electricity service," Chatto told Rappler in a text message.
In July this year, Balicasag's neighboring island, Pamilacan, received a P10-million solar energy facility installed and donated by WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines, enabling 300 off-grid households to enjoy power during daytime.
For Balicasag residents, power cost comes at a much lower rate compared to charges billed on grid-connected communities, according to Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco-I) general manager Dino Roxas. This is due to a special arrangement made between Boheco and SPUG of Napocor.
SPUG was formed after the merging of the Integrated Barge Management Group (IBMG) and Small Island and Isolated Grids (SIIG), all created by Napocor when power crisis gripped the country during the 1980s and the 1990s.
Present during Monday's switch-on ceremony were Chatto, Montero, Roxas, Napocor department manager Pete Llorente, Archie Lungay representing Bohol 1st District Representative Rene Relampagos, 302nd Infantry Battalion Commander Brig. General Arnulfo Matanguihan, and Philippine Navy Col. Jorge Ibarra. – Rappler.com