IN THE major business district area of Davao City, stands a large steel structure humming almost inaudibly beside the noisy and busy J.P. Laurel Avenue. Known as ERA Substation, this vital structure of Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light) powers parts of the city’s residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Today, it has an upgraded capacity of 300 megavolt-amperes (MVA) ensuring power reliability and securing enough load to cater to the city’s ever-growing population.
Considered the backbone of the power distribution network, substations and lines are vital facilities that ensure the delivery of power to every home, business, and industry. In particular, ERA Substation transforms electricity from 138 kV/69 kV or sub-transmission level voltage to supply the 69 kV/13.8 kV substations. These substations then further step down the voltage for distribution transformers energizing end-users such as homes and businesses.
Named after Ernesto R. Aboitiz who led Davao Light beginning in the 1950s, the ERA Substation is the first of two 138 kV/69 kV sub-transmission substations of Davao Light. It started operating in the early 90s with a lone 150 MVA transformer. With the growth and development of Davao City, the substation reached full capacity prompting the necessary upgrade it achieved recently.
Davao Light began the upgrading project in 2019 and installed the second 150 MVA transformer in 2022. It was energized last December 2023 and was completely loaded on January 7, 2024 — a fitting start to the year for the distribution utility. This strategic addition bolstered the overall capacity of the substation which carries the load spanning across downtown to northern and southern parts of Davao City, and positions it to accommodate an anticipated increase in future power demand.
In addition, when there are scheduled or emergency outages, ERA Substation can help carry electrical loads from other substations to prevent long power interruptions. Furthermore, since it is a full digital substation — the fourth in the company’s roster — it has real-time control and protection thereby improving the service availability and reliability in the areas it serves.
“With this recent upgrade to our ERA sub-transmission substation, Davao Light stays committed to the development and improvement of its network and processes,” Davao Light President and COO Rodger Velasco said. “Digitalization of our substations plays a key role in modernizing our systems and helps us maintain a competitive edge.”
Through the advancement of its processes and technologies, Davao Light, an AboitizPower subsidiary, gives rise to solutions that pave the way for the development of the communities in its franchise area covering the cities of Davao, Panabo, and the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas.
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