Iligan power plant shuts down

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ILIGAN CITY -- National Power Corporation (NPC)-Central Office recently ordered the Iligan Diesel Power Plant (IDDP) to temporarily stop its operations amid the Mindanao power crisis.

Engineer Manuel Cabatingan, IDPP plant manager, said the standing order was issued first week of February and was duly signed by the NPC senior vice president.

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He said the temporary stoppage was due to heavy budgetary constraints, particularly on fuel consumption. The plant needs at least P60 million fuel budget cost per month aside from the rental.

"We are waiting for an order from NPC when to resume operation so that the IDPP can support the needs amid power crisis being experienced in Mindanao," Cabatingan said.

Pedro Ambos, officer-in-charge of NPC’s Operations, Planning and Maintenance department based in Ditucalan here, told Sun.Star in a phone interview Wednesday that the IDPP-1 would generate 35 megawatts (MW) while the IDPP 2, which has 54-MW capacity, is still on standby awaiting for commissioning.

Ambos said the two IDPPs are owned by Psalm operated by NPC and recently claimed by the City Government of Iligan to be its property by virtue of auction for non-payment of taxes.

He said as of Wednesday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) started imposing a 24-load curtailment in the entire Mindanao.

The water level of Lake Lanao on Wednesday morning has gone down to 699.16 meters, forcing hydro electric power plants 1 to 7 within the Agus complex to reduce its generation capacity.

The HEPP Agus 1 and 2 are now using only one unit each instead of two units each plant, while the NPC reduced the unit of Agus 4 to just one instead of three units since the mud from the man-made lake might enter into the turbine and other water inlets.

Agus 6 to 7 were also reduced from five units to one each, while Agus 5 is reduced from five to two units.

Ambos said the Agus HEPP complex power generations totaled to 150 MW generated from Agus 1-7, while the Pulangi grid generates only up to 122 MW.

He also said there are two diesel power plants sold to Aboitiz Group of Companies -- the PB 118 located in Nasipit, Butuan City that was turned over on February 5 and the IDPB 117 located at Maco, Compostela Valley that would be turned over on February 28.

Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza is set to meet with key stakeholders of the Mindanao power industry Thursday to discuss updates on energy situation and map out steps to avert power problems.

Heads and representatives of various power providers, electric cooperatives, as well as officials from the Department of Energy, NPC and NGCP are expected to convene at the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) conference room.

Dureza has called for a meeting of the Mindanao power sector stakeholders on instructions of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the light of energy woes now being experienced across the country.

“The President has given orders to ensure that the current energy problem is addressed jointly by the government and the private sector to avert possible worsening of the situation,” Dureza said in a statement to media.

He added the current curtailment of power in Mindanao, wherein rotational brownouts have been experienced in some areas, is everyone’s concern.

“There is an urgent need to address the situation and find solutions as soon as possible considering that the energy sector is vital to continuing growth and progress,” he said.

Mindanao, which has the lowest power rates compared to Luzon and the Visayas, now has a supply shortage of 159 MW with generation capacity pegged at 1,151 MW as against demand of 1,210 MW as of February 18.

Analysts said that if not quickly addressed, the current energy problem brought about by supply shortages could be compounded by rising generation cost for fuel-run power plants and the effects of El Niño dry spell for hydro power plants.

Iligan power plant shuts down

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