POWER CONCERNS. Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. listens as Engr. Nelson Homena (2nd from left), plant manager of the Dingle power plant of Napocor, discusses the activation of additional power capacity for Iloilo in time for the Christmas season yesterday.
Pinamucan can’t supply power to Panay
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
BRACE for a possible bleak Christmas and New Year's Day.
Residents of Panay cannot rely on the Pinamucan power plant to supply the growing energy needs of the island, particularly during the Yuletide season.
This was the admission of National Power Corporation (Napocor) officials during a meeting with Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas Sr. the other day.
Aside from the Napocor, Tupas also convened officials from the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) and the three Iloilo electric cooperatives after learning of the problems besetting the Pinamucan facility.
Provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada said the governor discussed with energy officials and electric cooperatives preparations for the coming Christmas season.
‘We wanted to make sure that there is enough power during the holidays,” Mejorada said.
But Engineer Nelson Homena, plant manager of the Dingle power facility, said the 110-megawatt Pinamucan diesel-fired power plant alone is not enough to satisfy the power demands of Panay.
Earlier, Napocor sources said the Pinamucan plant experienced problems during initial testing.
Tupas said the facility “is very old” and was only resurrected to augment the energy requirements of Panay after being deactivated several years back.
The Pinamucan plant has eight engines but only half are operational due to unspecified defects.
Capitol sources said Napocor personnel “cannibalized” several parts of the Pinamucan plant to replace busted instruments.
But Homena said they will try to operate one unit of the plant by December in preparation for the holidays when demand for electricity is expected to reach its highest peak.
The Napocor will also try to reactivate the two power barges from stationed in Iloilo to add to the capacity of the Pinamucan facility.
Homena said the Pinamucan plant can only used as “voltage capacity building” and not for full power generation.
Aside from defects, the Napocor executive also said it would be costly for them to fully operate the said plant with the rising prices of fuel in the world market and the recent implementation of the revised Value Added Tax.
It takes ¼ of a liter of diesel to generate one kilowatt-hour of electricity. Presently, a liter of diesel costs P34.
For fuel alone, the Napocor said they will spend P8.50 per kilowatt-hour.
“If we add other expenses like labor, our generation cost might reach more than P20 per kilowatt-hour,” Homena told Tupas.
Meanwhile, Transco officials promised to increase their transmission capabilities for Panay.
Mejorada said the Pinamucan plant is only a “band aid” solution to the growing power needs of Iloilo and other provinces.
“The best solution we can have is to put up baseload plants like coal-fired plants,” Mejorada said.
The national government spent more than P600million just to transfer the Pinamucan plant from Bataan to Iloilo.
Because of its weight and size, a specially-designed bridge was built just to transport the whole facility from the Naluoyan port in Dumangas to Dingle. (Published in the November 5-6, 2005 of The Guardian-Western Visayas)