Philippines Repair of 25 Year Old Hydro Facility
The National Power Corporation in the southern Philippines has totally shut down the Agus 4 hydro-electric power plant that resulted to rotating brownouts in Mindanao.
After Agus 4, the NPC said it would also schedule the Pulangi hydro-electric power plant Number 2 for repair because of damage it took during the typhoon Bopha last year.
Lawyer Romero Pacilan, legal counsel and spokesperson of NPC, has told the Iligan City Council that it shut down the power plant on August 15 to allow major repair of the 25-year old hydro-electric facility. He said the repair is necessary so it could serve more to the power needs of Mindanao.
Pacilan said Agus 4, which has a generating capacity of 150MW, was supposed to undergo a scheduled repair in May, but deferred it following a request by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) due to dangerously low supply of electricity in the region.
The NGCP maintains the distribution of power to the different areas in the country.
Pacilan said they can still supply about 930MW in Mindanao even without Agus 4. “We are just talking here of about 30MW shortage due to the repair of Agus 4,” he said.
Engineer Pedro Ambos, chief of NPC Planning and Operations Division, said the of Agus 4 will last about 66 days, but he was quick to say that they will try their best to finish it within 45 days.
He said the Pulangi repair will come as soon as the Agus 4 repair is completed. The repair of Agus will cost about P425 million.
Iligan City Vice Mayor Ruderic Marzo has expressed concern over effect to the local economy of the rotating brownouts. The Iligan Light and Power, Inc. (ILPI) has a contract with NPC for 15MW and another 10MW from Mapalad Power Corp. (MPC) of the Alcantara Group of Companies, to cater to its electric needs.
Engineer Robin Ramillo, the MPC plant manager, said the ILPI has sought an additional 5MW, but its electric power had been allocated to other clients in Mindanao.
“We are trying our best to find ways and means to help the consumers of Iligan City,” Ramillo said.
Engineer Keenan Erigbuagas, a spokesman for the ILPI, said Iligan City is now experiencing at least 2 hours of brownout every day.
With the present levels of power drawn from MPC and the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., the generation cost component of electricity bill in Iligan has increased by as mush as P1.63 per kilowatt hour for residential customers because of “pass-on” charge and “revenue-neutral” to ILPI.
The ILPI said it would explore the best power supply options with the least rate impact to the customers and appealed to consumers to conserve electricity, “as it is becoming an expensive commodity.”
In Zamboanga City, at least 3 hours of rotating brownouts are being implemented by the local electric cooperative, while 2 hours in Pagadian City.