Pantabangan Dam to reach critical level by Mar 27: NIA

Pantabangan Dam to reach critical level by Mar 27: NIA
SunStar Local News GPX

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said that the Pantabangan Reservoir in Nueva Ecija will reach its critical level of 177 meters by March 27.

NIA and First Gen Hydro Power said this will result in its early shutdown or suspension due to the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.

First Gen Hydro Power Casecnan and Pantabangan plants complex head Richard Difuntorum said that the forecasted suspension of the company’s hydropower facilities this year will be earlier than the past years amid the ongoing El Niño.

“Actually, this time it will start early because we started the year with lower elevation. Normally, (the shutdown is on the) third week of April,” he said, noting that there were fewer typhoons and a lower amount of rainfall last year.

As of Tuesday, he said the water level in the Pantabangan Reservoir was already at 179.97 meter and that hydropower plants in Pantabangan go offline when they reach the 177-meter critical level.

Difuntorum added that among the units that will halt operations and undergo regular maintenance are the two units of the Pantabangan Hydroelectric Plant (PHEP) and the Masiway Hydroelectric Plant (MHEP), which are owned by the unit of the Lopez-led First Gen Corp.

He said PHEP 1 and 2 currently have a combined power generation of more or less 50 megawatts (MW) or about 40 percent of its full capacity of 120 MW, while the MHEP has a power capacity of 12 MW.

Difuntorum added that aside from the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plants, First Gen’s newly acquired Casecnan Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEPP) would also shut down its Unit 2 before the month ends to undergo maintenance until end of April or May this year.

Casecnan HEPP’s Unit 1, which sources its power from the Casecnan River in Nueva Ecija and Taan River in Nueva Vizcaya, is currently undergoing maintenance and will go online on March 25.


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