Power shortage in Mindanao back

ILIGAN CITY -- Rotating blackouts in Mindanao areas particularly in this city will resume as the National Power Corporation-Mindanao Generation (NPC-MG) shutdown its Agus 4 hydroelectric power plant since August 15.

In the regular session of Iligan City Council Tuesday afternoon, Lawyer Romero Pacilan, legal counsel and spokesperson of NPC-MG, said the total shutdown is vital to make the major repairs of the 25-year-old plant for it to continue to provide power to Mindanao.

Pacilan said Agus 4 has a generating capacity of 150 megawatts (MW). It was due for major repair and rehabilitation in May this year, but the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) requested NPC-MG to defer the repair because of the short supply of electricity while the elections were ongoing.

Pacilan said, "even without Agus 4, the NPC would still be able to supply the Mindanao area by about 930 MW and our contract with our customers is at 960 MW and we would only be short by 30 MW."

The NGCP has the overall control of the distribution of power to the different areas in Mindanao, Pacilan said.

Engr. Pedro Ambos, chief of NPC planning and operations, said: "the major repair will run up to 66 days but we will try our best to shorten it into 45 days".

"After the major repair of Agus 4, the Pulangui hydroelectric power plant unit 2 will be scheduled for repair after it experienced a heavy damage at the height of Tropical Storm "Pablo" in 2012,” Ambos added.

The unit 4 of Agus 6 which has 50 MW can only produce 35 MW which also needs repair to address its electrical equipment problem. The Unit 4 will be prioritized over the repairs of unit 1 and 2.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) have prepared P425 Million for its repair.

Worried

With this update from power situation in Mindanao, Iligan City vice mayor Ruderic Marzo is concerned on the possible longer rotating brownouts in Iligan City. "We have already experienced brownouts in some areas in Iligan City since Monday evening this week from Iligan Light and Power Incorporated (ILPI)."

The ILPI has contracted NPC to provide it with 15 MW while it has also contracted Mapalad Power Corporation of Alcantara group of Companies of 10 MW.

Engr. Robin Ramillo, MPC plant manager, said: “the ILPI management requested us to allocate them with an additional 5 MW, but our existing capacity at 76 MW has already been allocated to the clients in some parts of Mindanao."

Iligan residents have been clamoring for the power rate increase and with the new rotating brownouts, they are worried the rate will increase again.
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