University of the Philippines Los Baños
Friday, 08 September 2017 13:34

UPLB upgrades power infra to increase capacity

UPLB has been upgrading its infrastructure in order to provide an enabling environment for innovation and creativity for its students, faculty, and staff. Buildings, roads, bridges, classrooms, and laboratories have been constructed. Meanwhile, instructional and research laboratories as well as administrative offices have been acquiring and upgrading equipment in support of new research niches and areas, and in order to modernize and to produce graduates who are truly well-trained and proficient in scientific investigation and research.

To support these upgrades and ensure that these new facilities can be used to their full potential, UPLB, through the University Planning and Maintenance Office (UPMO), has also been upgrading the campus electrical system, which was put in place more than 50 years ago.

Failing to do so would certainly put to waste the efforts to upgrade and modernize buildings and research facilities. This is according to Engr. Elmer L. Centeno, chief of UPMO’s Electrical Section. Engr. Centeno said that UPLB’s recent projects have been taking a toll on UPLB’s electrical capacity, with the current components becoming insufficient for the University’s power requirements. He said that if these components are not replaced, the whole campus electrical system is bound to fail.

Engr. Centeno said that UPLB is currently rehabilitating and upgrading its electricity overhead distribution lines with a new wiring system that will enable it to handle a higher electrical capacity. The distribution lines are thickly insulated, thus more durable and safer to use. The old distribution  lines, meanwhile, are bare and easily susceptible to damage from stray branches, and inadequate for the increasing facilities of the University.

Phase 1 of the rehabilitation project at the upper campus began during the term of Dr. Rex Victor Cruz, former UPLB chancellor. Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. has continued the project into its Phase 2 to  cover the Agronomy area up to the UPCO Housing site.

So that the project does not get in the way of operations, UPMO has been doing the upgrade work on weekends, hence the scheduled blackouts in the recent months and until the end of September. As of now, the project is 80% complete and is estimated to be finished in October 2017. Its budget is PhP 11 million.

The UPMO-Electrical Section will propose the project’s Phase 3, which will upgrade the electrical distribution lines at the Animal Science Complex and Pili Drive, and Phase 4,  at the Institute of Plant Breeding and BIOTECH in 2018.

Also parallel to the project is the installation of electrical pad-mounted transformers in several old buildings in the campus, which is similarly aimed at increasing electrical capacity, as well as ensuring that buildings will not become fire hazards while housing high capacity laboratory equipment. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)