Visayan Electric: Manage consumption to avoid high electricity bills
THE Visayan Electric Company has urged its customers to put more conscious effort into managing their power usage, especially during the summer months when they may experience a spike in their electric bills. “March, April and May are considered the hottest months of the year in the Philippines, a period when cooling appliances such as air conditioners and electric fans work harder and longer, leading to greater electricity consumption,” Visayan Electric president and chief operating officer Raul Lucero said. Some of the basic practices customers can adopt are unplugging appliances when not in use and turning off lights when not needed. There are certain devices that consume “phantom load” or the electricity used up by plugged-in appliances even when turned off or on standby mode. During daytime, the utility also recommends opening curtains or using light-colored drapes to allow natural light to seep through the rooms. Other tips that consumers may find useful include checking their air-conditioning unit. The right air conditioner should be used for the right room size. A low-horsepower unit in a big room will have to work double time to get its job done. The thermostat should also be set to an ideal level. The less the difference between the outdoor temperature and the indoor temperature, the less energy is consumed by the unit. It is also best to ensure the unit is cleaned regularly and maintained properly. A dirty unit will consume more energy than a clean one. When using electric fans, customers should make sure the appliance is properly maintained and cleaned. Placing the electric fan near a door or window will allow proper air circulation and will help improve the fan’s cooling effect. The oscillator should be locked when the fan is needed in one direction only. This way, the air is blown directly to where it is needed. As for refrigerators, these should be placed in the coolest part of the room. The best location is usually the northern part of the area, away from the morning and afternoon sun. These appliances should be regularly defrosted as frost acts as an insulating blanket, causing the refrigerator motor to work overtime. Customers should also remove store wrappings from food before putting them inside as paper and similar materials can act as insulators as well. Aside from the scorching weather, another factor that could explain customers’ higher electricity bills since March would be the increase in generation charges due to the increase in fuel (coal and bunker) prices and higher prices of electricity at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. “We have to emphasize that the increase is not reflected in Visayan Electric’s distribution rate, but in the generation charges, which go to the power generators,” Lucero said. Visayan Electric assured its customers that it is keen on fulfilling its promise of reducing power rates in Cebu, initiating a competitive selection process as it seeks to renegotiate contracts with some of its power suppliers.