Visayan Electric energizes first digital substation

November 07, 2021

Visayan Electric energizes first digital substation

AboitizPower subsidiary Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (Visayan Electric) energized this quarter the first fully digital substation within its franchise area, helping improve overall network reliability and protection.

The rehabilitation of Visayan Electric’s Pakna-an substation along the Cebu North Road in Mandaue City was supposed to be completed in 2020 but was pushed back due to challenges brought about by the global health crisis.

“We continue to provide reliable power and quality service to our customers, and we were determined to complete this project despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovating our substations by making them fully digital is a big step toward further improving our network control and reliability,” Visayan Electric President and Chief Operating Officer Raul C. Lucero said.

Visayan Electric spent P102 million for this project, of which P29 million went into the protection and control systems adopting the IEC 61850, an international transmission protocol standard for communication in medium- and high-voltage electric substations. This standard provides enhanced interoperability and advanced communications capabilities in substation protection, coordination, control, monitoring, metering, and testing.

“We look forward to rehabilitating our other substations in Lorega and Pardo (Cebu City) in the coming years as well, thereby improving the integrity of our network, which in turn results in better service for our customers,” Lucero shared.

A substation plays an important role within a power distribution system, converting high voltage transmission electricity to safe and efficient lower voltage electricity for homes and businesses. The digital conversion of this substation boosts the efficiency, reliability, and availability of power supply through real-time control and protection operations. In a digital substation, processing of all information is in digital format, which makes computing faster.

The Pakna-an facility is equipped with a system that facilitates online monitoring and assessment, leading to the early detection of technical problems where swift action can then be taken. The digital transformation of Visayan Electric’s assets leads to the reduction, shortening, and even prevention of power outages and their impact on the community. Apart from these, having digital operations minimizes the need to physically check the status of the substation as well as manual labor when restoring power, which is vital especially during this period.

This milestone marks a step forward in AboitizPower’s digital transformation journey under its DigitaLeap program, wherein the digitalization of its assets is at the core of the company’s strategy. As one of the biggest energy firms in the country, AboitizPower seeks to ensure that all its facilities adopt the latest technologies to deliver maximum value in terms of availability and operating efficiency.

“In the greater scheme of things, the goal here is really future-proofing our operations, enabling our people with digital dexterity and culture as well as providing our customers with a unique experience and value-added offerings in this digital age,” said Anton Mari G. Perdices, chief operating officer of the AboitizPower Distribution Group.

Visayan Electric, the second-largest electric utility in the country, is owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation. It serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu -- Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando.