WHITE ELEPHANT? The Pinamucan plant at Dingle, Iloilo looks grandiose but still unoperational.
What’s bugging Pinamucan plant?
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
WHAT’S stopping the Pinamucan power plant from serving the power needs of Ilonggos?
After almost two years, the 110 megawatt diesel power plant has yet to operate to augment to the rising demand for electrical power of Panay consumers.
The project, which includes the transfer of the plant from Bataan to the National Power Corporation (Napocor) facility at Barangay Tabugon, Dingle, Iloilo, began on February 18, 2004 with a total cost of P629,503,111.
The Dingle II Consortium, which includes the Napocor and the DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI), is the contractor of the project.
President Gloria Arroyo ordered the transfer of the diesel power plant last year to address the growing power requirement in Panay
The Department of Energy had projected that existing power baseloads in the island are not enough supply the energy needs of Ilonggos in the next three years.
As an immediate solution to the power problems of Panay, the DoE encouraged the construction of power plants in the island.
So far, Mirant Philippines and the DMCI are actively working for the establishment of two coal-fired power plants in Barotac Viejo and Concepcion, respectively.
In particular, various towns in Iloilo province have been suffering from rotating brownouts due to lower power supply.
The plant was supposed to be inaugurated on September 30, 2005 with no less than President Arroyo as guest of honor.
But sources at Napocor said during testing of the plant, engineers found defects in the machine which required extensive rehabilitation.
The sources did not elaborate the problems besetting the plant.
The inauguration was moved to November 9 but latest report from the Consortium said it might be postponed once more.
But the Napocor clarified in a statement that the long delayed operation of the Pinamucan plants cannot be attributed to the “load shedding/brownouts recurring in Panay Island.”
“To stabilize the system voltage in Panay Island, it is imperative that an additional capacitor bank be installed to come up with a permanent solution to the recurring problem of brownouts,” the Napocor said.
The government-owned power producer added its Cebu-Negros-Panay power grid has “an excess of 7MW as per daily operations report of the System Operations Division of the National Transmission Corporation.”
“Hence, there is no shortage of power, and therefore the National Power Corporation should not be blamed for any blackout/brownout that is happening now,” the statement said.
Aside from the Pinamucan plant, the national government also deployed two power barges as additional sources of power for Panay.
Reportedly, one of the barges was transferred to Davao for rehabilitation.
If all ten engines of Pinamucan go on operation, it is expected to generate an effective 80 megawatt energy.