Electricity turns a barbecue stall into a bigger and brighter business
It’s become a daily labor of love for Victoria and Marlon Verano, hauling out the meat stored in their freezer and preparing it with their own mix of ingredients to ensure it lives up to qualities important to them and their customers: delicious, affordable, presentable, clean, and fresh.
Mr. and Mrs. Verano have been barbecue side vendors since 1995. They launched their tocino and longanisa business in 2003 as the core products of their business in Barangay Ibingay, Masbate City. They rely on their freezer to keep their meats fresh because they don’t contain preservatives and additives. Blackouts are their bane, forcing them to scramble for ice to ensure their products remain at peak quality so they can keep their customers happy.
The Veranos process up to 25 kilos of meat per day and sell them at night—a far cry from the kilo of meat they began with in 2003. Aside from their regular customers, they get the occasional walk-in buyers intending to retail their products elsewhere, or tourists buying in bulk for pasalubong.
“We owe the success of our business to the stable supply of power in Masbate that has significantly improved in the past few years,” the couple said. “Today, we don’t need to buy our own generator because blackouts are occasional and shorter, which is good for business.”
They are thankful they are able to send their children to school, pay their utilities, and meet their various needs. They know they’ve worked hard enough to escape the hardships they went through when their incomes were meager.
Mr. and Mrs. Verano’s experience is shared by many in Masbate whose small businesses bloomed because of the stable power supply. Thanks to DMCI Power Corporation, the sole provider of power in the main island of Masbate, in partnership with Masbate Electric Cooperative, the province enjoys improved economic growth. It has seen the rise of shopping centers like LCC or Liberty Commercial Center, NOVO Annex, and GAISANO. The robust local economy has attracted other businesses like hotels, banks, hospitals, and multinational food establishments, to name a few.
Steadfast in its goal to become the country’s most reliable power provider in the country, DMCI Power has expanded to off-grid areas. Building on its initial success in Masbate, the firm won a public bidding to become one of the major power suppliers in Palawan. It recently installed a three-megawatt plant in Roxas, Palawan that functions as the town’s sole source of electricity. Meanwhile, the 15-megawatt power plant it constructed in Mindoro is now fully operational.
The Power of Partnerships
In Masbate, DMCI Power and MASELCO are strengthening their partnership by establishing communication and technical protocols.
In the case of power interruptions, a 15-minute time to take action takes effect. Weekly coordination meetings are also conducted so they can better assess the power situation.
Even when it comes to clearing trees and vegetation around power lines, procedures were identified to prevent tree branches from coming into contact with power lines causing power outages especially during typhoons.
Our distribution partner, MASELCO has installed quality conductor lines and transformers, resulting to the significant reduction in systems loss (the amount of energy lost when distributing power that can no longer be recovered). Although systems loss is an inherent occurrence in the distribution system, it can be significantly reduced as MASELCO has shown—bringing losses from 32 percent (the highest rate recorded) to 19 percent at present.
When operational, the National Power Corporation’s 69KV transmission line project in the province is also expected to address voltage gap problems. The goal is to reduce and eliminate occurrence of blackouts.
With partners working in harmony to improve the power supply of Masbate, the Veranos and other locals like them can look forward to sustaining, expanding (or initiating) their businesses with an important fundamental already firmly in place.