E POWER PATROL STORY
When Prometheus gave fire to man, the gods supposedly punished him severely. With fire, the gods knew, there will be no turning back for civilization. It must go on and on, until it reaches the cliff of self- destruction.
Electricity is to the modern world, as fire is to the early man. With electricity there is no turning back until we reach the cliff. For how long, two centuries, half a century, 25 years?
“The Tale of the Table”
We and the rest of the world, consume the following energy resources: oil, coal, gas, most recently uranium, for our energy needs. But we consume them in a rather rapacious manner.
Here is the tale of the table.
NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE
LIFE RESOURCE* ** (in years)
* Projected by the DOE based on the report by the BP statistical Review of World Energy, 1986
**Volume based on identified resources only
Clearly, we don’t have much. These resources are dwindling fast. Very fast, considering that it took from 20 to 300 million years for these matters to form and accumulate into a natural reservoir of energy. Typically human, we bake a cake for at least three hours to consume it in five minutes.
We don’t have much but we consume it fast. Oil will literally fade out from the face of the earth 25 years from now. Coal, gas, and uranium have an almost equally short life span.
Hey, who says that electricity is running out?
Okay. We’ve said that in the year 2019 our (that is the world’s) oil reserve would have run dry. So let us fit electricity into this not so nice picture tomorrow.
“Energy, Oil, Electricity”
In our country, we rely mainly on four energy resources for our energy or power needs – oil, coal, hydro and geothermal power.
When we say power, we mean electricity that powers our factories, our transportation, our machines, and other devices that either supplement our needs or give us comfort.
In 1994, our industry sector consumed 60 million barrels of oil. That was 57 percent of our country’s total oil consumption for the same year. Forty six percent of that 60 million barrels of oil was used for power generation and refinery fuel, the rest was used for transportation and food processing, among others.
In 2000, the industry sector consumed 13.6 million barrels of petroleum products, that is 26.1% of the country’s total petroleum consumption.
Considering that the world’s oil reserve is terminally ill, our industry, as well as the rest of the world’s, will not be in a very good shape some years from now.
So there’s the coal, the gas, and the uranium resources. But they have limited use. We can no longer power machines and vehicles with coal. Uranium has few limitations as to its use, but is very dangerous and expensive.
We are now confronted with the use of uranium, and there will come a time when the only choice left for us is caution. But it will again boil down to the tale of the table. We don’t have that much uranium either.
Electricity for power generation is the main “eater” of these resources. We use a lot of oil and coal to run our power plants.
And why is electricity so valuable to us?
Electricity, technically, provides us our needs. It also offers us a life of comfort and convenience. It may be said that the amount indicated in one’s electric bill is a status symbol. A sign of affluence, the amount of electricity one consumes in a certain period of time is an indicator of his economic and social status.
“The Power Crisis”
Remember “the dark ages”? We are not talking about knights and moors here. We are talking about the power crisis of the ‘90s. Brownouts. Now you remember! Yes, every hour of those eight to ten-hour brownouts.
For three years, the power crisis read as brownouts, severely damaged the country’s economic, political and even social life. It reached a peak in 1993 and the threat hangs still and will remain as long as our country strives for industrialization.
The brownouts appeared as the ugly head of the power crisis. But saying that the brownout as a phenomenon is the energy problem itself is a misdirected premise.
Luzon has a power deficit of 600 MW in 1990 and 900 MW in 1993. So, apparently, the immediate answer to the power crisis was to build more power plants. But the energy problem is more than just building of more power plants.
The government’s energy policies are grounded on two main thrusts: 1) to respond to the need of ensuring a continuous, adequate, and economic supply of energy with the end in view of ultimately achieving self-reliance in the country’s energy requirements; and 2) to promote and adopt energy conservation, renewal, and efficient utilization of energy so that our energy supply and resource can keep pace with our country’s growth and economic development.
With Executive Order No. 123, signed last September 8, 1993, President Fidel V. Ramos created the Committee on Power Conservation and Demand Management with a mandate to pursue such government policies.
To perform the said mandate, the Committee is riding on the campaign, “Power Patrol”. This campaign has a clear goal. Energy efficiency will reduce the need for oil imports. Such reduction will lower the capital and operating costs of electricity and will consequently provide Filipinos with sufficient electricity at lowest possible costs.
“Why Was Power Patrol Born?”
There are basically three reasons why the Power Patrol Campaign was initiated. First is - the bad experience we had with those eight to ten hour-long brownouts during the power crisis. Worse, the experience can happen again, if we consider the tale of the Table as a fairly good reason. Worst, we have this passive regard of what this Table is trying to tell us. It’s either because we are not aware of it, or we simply don’t care.
What will this campaign do to avert the situation?
The campaign has three ways of doing the job - information dissemination, information dissemination and more information, because the bottom line of this campaign is the expected participation and cooperation from the people themselves.
There are three sectors that have been identified by this campaign as the target audiences.
The Households and Villages Sector
In the Households and Villages sector, focus is on the housewives and the household helpers. They are potentially the most effective campaigners of this sector. This is because they are practically the energy managers in every household.
But the very sad thing is, on the hands of every simple housewife and household helper lie the fate of 40 million or more barrels of oil every year and they don’t give a thought about it.
Since the housewives and house helpers are involved in activities or tasks that largely influence and determine the electricity consumption of each household, the first move therefore is to give these individuals proper instructions, and make out of them scientific and professional energy managers of the residential sector.
This is done through fora and informal discussions held in villages and subdivisions with the assistance of local government officials concerned. Civic groups active in every area have also been tapped to help organize these activities and sustain them by providing a ready structure that will carry additional programs.
The barangay system of information dissemination is also utilized in the distribution of electricity conservation leaflets and organization of public fora in selected villages.
The Program’s Accomplishments
On October 6, 1993 , Power Patrol Campaign was launched in Metro Manila. The campaign was launched as a nationwide activity on January 30, 1994 .
On June 18, 1994 , the campaign was launched in Cebu and in Cagayan de Oro on August 27 with a total of 315 attendees. In all those launchings, the residential sector representatives received trainings that are at par with those received by the members of the other sectors. Out of these trainings, it is aimed, will emerge housewives and house helpers efficient in demand side management not only in their households but in their respective communities as well.
Subsequently the campaign was launched in San Fernando , La Union on September 24, 1994 and in Legaspi City on November 5, 1994 with a total of 768 attendees.
In 1995, Power Patrol was launched in: San Fernando, Pampanga for Region III on January 21; Bacolod City for Region VI on February 3; Davao City for Region XI on March 10; Zamboanga City for Region IX on April 1; Tacloban City for Region VIII on July 10; Lucena City for Region IV on July 29; Tuguegarao, Cagayan for Region II on August 31; Cotabato City for Region XII on September 30; and in General Santos City on October 29. The total number of participants that attended the launching is 5,019.
For 1996, launching were held in: Quezon City on March 7; Manila Districts 1 & 2 on May 15; Parañaque and Las Piñas on June 21; Manila Districts 3 & 4 on August 1; Manila District 5 & 6 on August 15, Butuan city for the CARAGA Region on September 20; Muntinlupa City on October 21; and in Malabon and Navotas on December 12. The total number of participants that attended the launchings is 3,627.
For 1997, launchings were held in: Daet, Camarines Norte on January 31; CAR and Baguio City on March 14; Taguig and Pateros on April 7; Marikina City on April 16; Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on June 21; Lucban, Quezon on July 11; Dumaguete City on August 15; Makati City on August 22; Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on October 17; San Pablo City, Laguna on November 7; and Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu City on November 28. The total number of participants that attended the launchings is 5,879.
For 1998, launchings were held in: Pasig City on February 18; Infanta, Quezon on February 20; Batangas City on March 13; Sta. Cruz, Laguna on April 24; and Cavite City on November 27. The total number of participants that attended the launchings is 3,800.
For 1999, launching was held in Angeles City on January 15 and participated by 621 attendees.
Meanwhile, monitoring activities for 1996 were held in Legaspi City on June 28; Tacloban City on July 16; Lucena City on August 30; San Fernando , Pampanga on September 13; General Santos City on September 23; San Fernando , La Union on October 11; Tuguegarao, Cagayan on November 15; Iloilo City on November 29 and Cotabato City on December 16. The total number of participants that attended the monitoring activities is 3,142.
For 1997, monitoring activities were held in: Davao City on January 17; Zamboanga City on February 28; Cagayan de Oro City on July 25; and Bacolod City on September 3. The total number of participants that attended the monitoring activities is 1,253.
For 1998, monitoring activities were held in: Cabanatuan City , Nueva Ecija on March 6; and in Malolos, Bulacan on March 18 that were attended by 964 participants.
For 1999, monitoring activities were held in: Cavite City on July 20 and Batangas City on November 19 that were attended by 1,246 participants.
For 2000, monitoring activities were held in: Tarlac City on February 16; Biñan, Laguna on March 3; Iba, Zambales on March 10; Cainta, Rizal on May 26; and Balanga, Bataan on June 9. The total number of participants that attended the monitoring activities is 2,219.
C. Contingency Programs
During the period from January to November 1993, campaigners from the Commercial and Industrial sectors under the Genset Program was able to generate 61,223,822 MW-hr representing a 3.9% reduction in the total unserved energy during that period.
This campaign sees it fit to tap and exploit the potential savings that this sector can come up with. With eyes set upon operators of hotels, shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, government buildings and other commercial buildings, the campaign opened these trails for the campaigners:
Genset Program. Provided incentives to generator set owners (Genset) who operate their equipment for eight continuous hours a day or during peak hours. The incentive is 50 centavo rebate for every kWh generated. This program was implemented during the peak of the power crisis. Although we have been enjoying a surplus in our power supply for the past few months, genset owners are still encouraged to run their units whenever practical and feasible.
Voluntary Load Curtailment Program (VLCP). Also one of those programs implemented during the peak of the crisis; it is a systematic electricity or load shedding process in which participating industrial establishments absorb the deficiency through voluntary load curtailment practices. This enables the residential and commercial customers to be spared from brownouts.
D. Seminar-Workshop for Commercial and Industrial Sectors
To further increase awareness on the importance of energy efficiency in the sectors, seminar-workshops were conducted in: Cebu City on March 27-28, 1998; Davao City on April 21-22, 1998; Lapu-lapu City on November 20-21, 1998; Taguig, Metro Manila on April 22, 1999; Cavite City on December 10, 1999; Cabuyao, Laguna on June 30, 2000; Clark Field, Pampanga on March 2, 2001; Cavite City on July 27, 2001; Olangapo City on August 24, 2001; and Baguio City on September 21, 2001. The total participants that attended the seminar-workshops is 933.
E. Ecozones/Government Energy Management Program
Linkages and cooperation among energy research and development entities, concerned non-government organizations, local government units and PEZA are initiated to reach all the target recipients of this program with the same mission of presenting the energy efficiency improvement measures.
Energy efficiency program, dubbed as “GEMP” (Government Energy Management Program), is also initiated for the government sector to stimulate its awareness on energy efficiency and conservation to reduce government expenditures on fuel and electric utility services.
F. The Industrial and Commercial Sector
Statistics show that the Commercial and Industrial sector accounts for at least 2/3 of the total electricity consumption of Metro Manila viewed on a metro-wide basis. A fairly good support for arguing that in all metropolis, emerging or existing, in the archipelago, this sector accounts for the largest electricity consumption.
This sector’s activity is a major concern even in the absence of recurring brownouts. We need the support of this sector to stabilize our energy supply.
To fully enhance the industrial and commercial sector’s support, Power Patrol designed the following programs:
Seminar for specific target audiences (i.e. shopping mall and department store operators, hotel operators, building administrators, energy managers, technical personnel, and consultants or energy service companies.
A breakthrough was achieved by the campaign in the form of the “Guidelines for Energy Conserving Design of Buildings and Utility Systems: when this became a Referral Code of the Philippines effective January 4, 1994 .
Emfax Program. This is an effective system of distributing energy management principles, facts and practices and other related information among companies through fax, in an effort to increase awareness on electricity conservation.
A Power Patrol Door-to-Door campaign involves the conduct of on-site briefings. It targets small and medium commercial and industrial establishments to get their interests in setting their own energy management programs.
G. School and Institutional Sector
They say that life is learning and you must never live to learn but you must live and learn, learn and live.
This campaign is for the future Filipinos. It is a good example of this generation paying for what the next generation is going to enjoy. That is the basic fact of the play between the old and the new generations.
This is basically the campaign’s philosophy. Teach the children of today so they may not commit the errors of their parents. Teach them well. The parents live to learn so there was the power crisis. The children must live and learn.
Live and learn, so they did. Programs to this effect helped and will help the children become better parents and decision makers of tomorrow.
The children were instructed on the basics of meter reading to enable them to carry out the campaign by acting as a “conscience block” in the household when the use of electricity is concerned. Knowing how to read the meter, they will be able to monitor their electricity consumption and apply the energy efficiency tips they have learned to lower such consumption.
Report cards were also introduced to help the children in monitoring the electricity consumption of their homes. These cards, in effect, will serve as “piggy banks” or “alkansya” because they will reflect how much they have saved.
To help the children understand this campaign more fully, energy efficiency tips are distributed in discussions and symposia in schools and communities.
The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) has an active role in the implementation of the campaign’s programs through these activities.
Meeting and orientation seminars of superintendents, principals, teachers, and non-formal educators will focus on the campaign.
Distribution of school calendars that promote the energy conservation campaign.
Module writing on the integration of energy conservation in Mathematics, Health and Science, and Sibika at Kultura.
Zonal trainings on power conservation.
Regular visits to schools to monitor and evaluate the extent of program implementation.
DOST-DECS-Caltex Philippines “Science Art Program” will feature “Energy Conservation: as its theme for 1994.
Integration of the Power Patrol program in the televised educational show of ABS-CBN Foundation, “Sineskwela”.
There is a need for this campaign to cover a broad front. Every sector must lend a hand in ensuring the success of this campaign. Thus three task forces have been organized to focus on the three sectors identified as the Households and Villages, Commercial and Industrial, and Schools and Institutional sectors.
To support the structure are three Sub-committees with the following functions:
Sub-committee on Creative Execution and Promotions
The thrust of the subcommittee is to develop promotional materials and conceptualize creative ideas and activities to effectively promote Power Patrol as a campaign for energy efficiency. It employs tri-media and non-traditional media advertising as well as feeding of news articles and press releases as tools.
Sub-committee on Research and Monitoring
Setting performance indicators to determine the success of program implementation, the subcommittee conducts monitoring of electricity consumption of all sectors involved in the program. It also conducts surveys to verify the monitoring result.
Sub-committee on Finance
The main function of the subcommittee is to raise/ solicit funds that will support the campaign programs. It also handles the budgeting and accounting for program finances as well as the monitoring of fund usage.
The Campaign’s Thrust for the New Millennium
The new millennium is characterized by a dynamic change in the energy industry with deregulation and privatization taking hype. In view of these changes, the government expects that its role as provider of command and control programs would be reduced to pave the way for market-based practices.
The government-private collaboration under the Power Patrol movement will be further enhanced with the refocusing of its activities to education programs for ecozones and government agencies. All aspects of accomplishing energy efficiency would be integrated into one package of information materials, which will be marketed to the different ecozones through the new program called Partnership for Energy Responsive EcoZones (PEREZ).
The Government Energy Management Program (GEMP) aims to reduce the use and cost of energy in government agencies by advancing energy efficiency technologies and practices in all government facilities. The program requires all government offices to reduce their electricity and fuel consumption by 10%.
The program for Households and Villages and Commercial and Industrial Sectors will continue to be implemented in partnership with utilities and energy service providers. The program for Commercial and Industrial sector will be reinvigorated with the launching of the PERCs program on energy efficiency otherwise known as Partnership for Energy Responsive Companies. Companies which sign up in either PEREZ or PERCs programs are given perks, such as, free energy briefing, free energy survey or walk-through, and other educational materials, provided that, they submit their quarterly and annual energy consumption and energy conservation reports to the Department of Energy.
For the Schools and Institutional Sector, emphasis will be given to the development of mechanisms to monitor the energy savings in the school, division, district, and regional levels of implementation of the Power Patrol report card and meter reading and energy conservation practices.
The Campaign’s Legacy
The energy problem is too complex. In solving it, the people must take a more active role. Otherwise, the government will be helpless in facing it. Energy efficiency will reduce the need for oil imports because fuel is also used to run generating plants. More so, additional generating plants will mean higher capital and operating costs. Our efficient use of electricity, and consequently energy, will therefore mean sufficient power and electricity for all at the lowest possible cost.
At the company level, increased energy efficiency means more savings and higher profit. Hence, it will create greater company stability, more jobs and competitive markets.
This results in the reduction of coherence between the growth rate of energy consumption and the economy. This will lead to the alleviation and raising of the standard of living of every Filipino.
Consider, too, the environmental consequences a power plant brings. A 30-MW hydro power plant needs at least 80 hectares of cleared forest and farm lands for its dam, transmission lines and other components plus the lake that stores the water. A coal-fired plant creates acid rain making lakes and streams too acidic for living things, attacking and damaging forests and agricultural crops.
A geothermal plant is expected to release at least 420,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year contributing greatly to global warming. A 215-MW diesel power plant will be needing at least 260,000 gallons of water a day.
Perhaps the best legacy this campaign might lend is the preservation of nature. Energy efficiency eases environmental stress. Any amount of wasted electricity, or any form of resources for that matter, will not be of any help. Mother Earth is very tired.
Two Campaign Tools
A. “Kuryentipid Tips”
Electricity conservation does not mean “doing without” electricity, but “doing it” wisely.
Electricity conservation means using the least amount of electricity without reduction in standards of basic goods and services.
Electricity efficiency measures are divided into two main categories, namely:
- House keeping measures or no/low cost measures, like the simple switching off of appliances or lights when not in use.
- High cost or with capital investment measures, like changing incandescent to fluorescent lighting, or the installation of power capacitors.
The following basic Tipid tips will be practical and helpful to home “energy managers.”
Turn-off unnecessary light.
Use fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs. A 40-watt fluorescent lamp produces more light that a 100-watt incandescent bulb at half the cost.
Clean lamps and bulbs regularly. Dirt lessens illumination by as much as 50%.
Have all the ingredients ready when cooking to avoid frequent switching on and off of the electric stove.
Avoid using a big burner for a small pan
Use flat-bottom pans with light covers to lessen heat transfer loss.
Thaw frozen foods thoroughly before cooking.
Switch the electric stove to “low” when the food begins to boil.
Turn off the electric stove during the last minutes of cooking. The remaining heat will make the food simmer.
3. TV Viewing
Switch off the set when no one is watching. Unplug it when a transformer is used.
Black and white sets use less electricity than colored ones.
Running several sets at the same time multiplies your entertainment costs.
Substitute computer games with educational board games and light sports.
4. Electric Fan
Turn off the fan when not in use.
If comfortable enough, set the fan to “low.”
Lock the oscillator when the fan is needed in one direction only. This way, air is blown directly to where it is needed.
5. Ironing Clothes
Do all the ironing at one time.
Iron when it is cooler and more comfortable. This lessens the demand for electricity during peak hours.
Dampen clothes moderately. Excessively moistened clothes take longer to iron.
Switch off the electric iron in the last few minutes of ironing. There will be enough heat to press lighter materials.
Choose a refrigerator model and size suited to your family needs.
Defrost the refrigerator regularly.
Replace loose refrigerator gaskets.
Place the refrigerator away from the stove and the sun.
Open the refrigerator door only when needed.
Keep the refrigerator fans and coils clean and dust free.
Do not store hot food in the refrigerator.
Do not overstuff your refrigerator.
7. Air Conditioning
Make sure that the thermostat is working. Keep the thermostat setting no lower than 25 degrees C.
Install the unit in the coolest part of the room.
Keep the unit’s filter, condenser and other parts clean.
Air-conditioned room should be well insulated from direct sunlight. Open doors of air-conditioned rooms only when necessary.
Install window-type air-conditioners at the highest accessible place.
8. Water Pumps
Limit the use of automatic electric pumps.
In hot weather, low water level makes water pumps work linger, thus more electricity is used.
Some basic measures are also applicable in the offices and other establishments:
1. Switch on aircon units 30 minutes after the start of office hours, switching it off 30 minutes before closing of office hours.
2. Switch off all office equipment running on electricity such as typewriters, computers, copying machines, air pots, etc. when not in use. Unplug it after office hours.
3. Switch off unnecessary lights and exhaust fans.
4. Switch off all lights, air-conditioning units, exhaust fans, and other electrical equipment on non-working days.
5. General cleaning of offices is scheduled on Saturday to save energy.
6. Clean lighting diffuser to maximize illuminance.
7. Sticker saying “SWITCH OFF WHEN NOT IN USE’ is placed in all lighting switches.
8. Put off the exhaust fans while the aircon units are in operation.
With a wasted kilowatt of electricity goes a lot of things. You waste a kilowatt and you waste P5.00. You also waste precious oil, which will need another 20 to 300 million years for it to be replaced. Most of all, you will waste a chance of being able to help alleviate the delicate condition of our energy supply.
B. “Reading The Electric Meter”
“Be conscious of what you consume, you might be gobbling up one of your own.”
Are you aware of the amount of electricity you are consuming every week, or every month? If not then stop and think. You might be eating up your budget, your savings, your business, your future and your life.
How do we know we are eating up too much electricity? How do we prevent, top, and curb this if we are doing so?
Energy efficiency has become a password these past few months following the years that saw the end of the power crisis. This is because our leaders in the energy field keep saying that those brownouts will be back if we do not start saving electricity soon.
And soon means now.
How do we save electricity? Perhaps the first question must be what is our average electricity consumption in say, one month? If your electric bill is making your budget sick, then there is one thing which can lead you to the cure – the electric meter.
Knowing how to read the electric meter is like starting with the right foot in your own energy efficiency campaign. Saving means knowing how much you consume or spend. Learn to read the meter, you will know how much electricity you’re consuming.
The watt-hour meter, also called the electric meter, installed in your home measures the amount of electric energy that you use at a given period of time.
The watt-hour meter is factory tested, utility tested, and retested and sealed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to make sure that it registers electric consumption accurately.
Basically, there are two types of meter. The standard meter, the one used by MERALCO, and the digital meter used by most electric cooperatives servicing areas in some parts of the country.
The digital meter is easy to read. Just list down the first four numbers shown through the small windows or screens and you have your reading.
The standard meter is a bit challenging and will require you to be a little patient.
The four digits are labeled A to D. Dials A and C move counterclockwise while dials B and D move in clockwise route.
As long as you can catch a napping fly off guard, then your future as a meter reader is promising. It is just like reading your watch. With some practice and patience, you can even read a meter from a distance of 20 feet.
For example, if the pointer is between “2” and “3”, you record the smaller number “2”. Set down, in the same manner, right-to-left order, the number you have read from the other dials.
However, when the pointer is directly on the number, for example “5”, read it as “5” if the pointer of the dial on the “right” has passed its zero point. But read it as “4” if the pointer on the “next dial” is approaching its zero point.
To complete the steps, you subtract the reading shown on your last bill from this reading and you get the number of kilowatt hours used since your last billing date.
Meter reading must be a sustained activity, not a seasonal one. The fact that we are colossal wasters of energy is made worse because we are not aware of it. We will remain unaware unless we sustain our electricity consumption. We will remain unaware unless we commit ourselves to the energy efficiency campaign.
For More Information on Power Patrol, Contact:
Mr. Jesus C. Anunciacion
Chief, Energy Efficiency Division
Department of Energy
Tel. Nos.: 8401401-21 loc 214, 840-2268, 840-2243