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By Francis Allan L. Angelo


POWER utilities in Panay are preparing for the possible electricity shortage due to scheduled maintenance of power plants in the Visayas grid this September.

Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager, said they are awaiting word from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) regarding the preventive maintenance of certain power plants.

“It is up to the systems operator group (of the NGCP) to schedule the load shedding once these plants in the Visayas grid undergo preventive maintenance. Once we have the schedule of maintenance and the load reduction, we can make a manual load shedding scheme in our service areas,” Billena said.

Ileco 1 has a peak load of 30 megawatts which it draws from the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid and independent power producer Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC).

Billena said Capiz and Aklan might suffer the most from the load shedding if they fail to renew their respective supply contracts with the National Power Corp. (NPC).

Billena said they have minimized rotating brownouts in Ileco 1 after entering into an agreement with NGCP.

“NGCP allowed us to use excess power it draws from the Palinpinon geothermal power plant in Negros,” he added.

Gil Altamira, GBPC commercial account manager, said they are rushing the repair of Engine No. 5 of Panay Power Corp. (PPC), the sole power producer in Iloilo City.

Altamira said the engine broke down a month ago due to a damaged rotor winding. It is expected to go online on August 1, 2009.

PPC presently supplies 55MW to Iloilo City through Panay Electric Co. (PECo).

PECo also draws another 15MW from NPC. Iloilo City has a peak load demand of 82MW.

“If we can repair the engine before the scheduled maintenance of plants in the grid, Iloilo City won’t suffer from the load shedding. By then, we can supply 66MW to PECo which is enough to power the city including the 15MW from the grid,” Altamira said.

Altamira said they are hoping that the preventive maintenance of plants will not affect the 15MW the utility draws from the grid.

“If the shutdown will reduce our supply from the grid by more than 50%, we might suffer from brownouts during the scheduled maintenance,” he said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


WAS the sale of Panay Diesel Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo advantageous to the government and taxpayers?


This is the question that Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron wants answered even as he plans to file a resolution calling for a House inquiry on the sale of PDPP to Singaporean firm SPC Power Corp.


The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) sold PDPP, which is operated by the National Power Corp. (Napocor), to SPC for more than US$5 million dollars (roughly P300 million at the current foreign exchange rate). The sale also included the Bohol Diesel Power Plant.


The Dingle power facility is composed of two plants – PDPP1 and PDPP3. PDPP2 is located in Panit-an, Capiz.


The government spent around P1 billion to rehabilitate and transfer PDPP3 from Pinamucan, Batangas to Iloilo several years back.


Biron said he finds it strange that Psalm and Napocor will sell PDPP at a price lower than its actual market value.


“The selling price was lower than the scrap value of the plant. We must look into the process of the sale. Was it advantageous to the government? Was it orderly?” Biron said.


The government has been privatizing Napocor assets in keeping with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira). Part of the asset sales will be used to pay the debts of the state-owned power firm.


Biron said Napocor and Psalm had the chance to earn from the PDPP sale “if they only used the fair market value of the plant as the floor price.”


“If this is the case, it is useless to privatize Napocor assets because government will end up losing a big amount of money. The price of the PDPP sale is obviously very low,” Biron said.


Biron also questioned why the contractual obligations of Napocor to electric cooperatives were not honored in the sale.


“The consumers are being held hostage if this is the case. We are held hostage by high cost of power and the prospect of power shortage. This is a triple whammy on consumers because aside from losing money in the sale, we are having serious problems in the cost of power and supply,” he added.


Biron said he has nothing against the privatization of Napocor assets “but these should be done in a manner that is advantageous to the government.”

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


IT’S not good enough.


This was the reaction of an electric cooperative executive to the decision to let SPC Power Corp. operate Panay Diesel Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo with subsidy from the government.


Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager, said the problem brought about by the privatization of PDPP brings to fore the need to put up a baseload power plant in Panay.


Malacañang decided Wednesday to continue with the turnover of PDDP to SPC March 26.


SPC will own the plant and sell power to the three electric cooperatives in Iloilo provided the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) will subsidize the Singaporean firm’s operations, a mockery of the government’s privatization thrust.


Napocor will provide fuel to PDPP to keep it running and provide power to the cooperatives.


The new arrangement will allow electric cooperatives to enjoy the same subsidized rate of P2.80 per kilowatt-hour which Napocor is currently offering.


Psalm and Napocor sold PDPP along with the Bohol Diesel Power Plant to SPC for more than US$5 million.


The privatization of the plant raised public concerns that it will stop running because of rehabilitation works and the issue on the real cost of power.


“We cannot continue like this. We have to have our own power plant in Panay so we will not scrounge for sources when we lose capacities in the grid. This the reason why we continue to contract power from independent power producers to secure our future energy needs,” Billena said.


Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Ileco-2 director, said Napocor has no choice but to join in the said arrangement with SPC because the state-owned power firm has contractual obligations with the electric cooperatives in Panay.


Ventilacion also stressed on the need to put up new baseload plants to prevent the same problems that cropped up with PDPP’s privatization.


“This is the reason why the infrastructure development committee of the Regional Development Council called for the immediate construction of new power plants but from the looks of it, these projects will not be online by January 2011,” Ventilacion said.


Even the Visayas Supply Augmentation Auction (VSAA) program mulled by the Department of Energy to arrest the acute power shortage in Panay is also a temporary solution to the problem.


Billena said there is a need to improve the capacity of the submarine cable between Negros and Panay Islands to make VSAA more effective.


VSAA aims to tap embedded power generators in Visayas and excess capacities of power plants in Visayas.


“We have constraints in the submarine cable and uprating is needed to ensure stable supply. And Panay would still be at the mercy of other power producers as regards the price and stability. These plants will have to decide between making money and maintaining the backup for their franchise areas,” Billena said.


Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) and DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) are proposing two coal-fired power plants in Panay.


GBPC, which belongs to the Metrobank Group, has begun earthworks at its plant site in Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz, Iloilo City. GBPC operates Panay Power Corp., the sole power distributor in Iloilo City. DMCI has yet to begin construction of its plant in Concepcion, Iloilo because of uncertainty over its potential market.

July 2020

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