Major rehab on Agus-Pulangui hydroelectric plants to start next year

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 Oct) -– A full-scale rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangui Hydroelectric Power Complex will commence next year to increase the decades-old plants’ capacity factor by more than 80%, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) executive director Romeo Montenegro said on Wednesday.

Montenegro also told “Wednesday’s Habi at Kape”  that government has ruled out the possibility of the plants’ privatization in the immediate term due not only because of the objection of Mindanawon lawmakers to the plan of Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to sell it  but also because of the  signing of RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Under the law, the future Bangsamoro government will have jurisdiction over the government’s power assets located within the Bangsamoro territory.

MAJESTIC FALLS. The Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City, whose water is used to run the Agus VI hydroelectric plant, as photographed 1 March 2018. Agus VI is one of the six plants along the Agus River from Lake Lanao in Marawi City. The National Power Corporation strictly regulates visits to the waterfalls, requiring visitors to get permits to gain entry. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“The privatization may have to be determined later on because, as you may note, it was stipulated in one of the provisions (of the law) that the assets that are allocated within the Bangsamoro, the Bangsamoro government will have preferential right to own – the Agus Complex. Therefore, PSALM cannot just unilaterally make any specific decision in terms of privatizing it without reckoning with the previsions of the BOL,” he said.

He said what is more immediate is subject the plants to major rehabilitation since they have been generating power at 589.26 megawatts (MW) or 60% of its 982.1 MW installed capacity.

He said a mechanism will have to be arranged with the future Bangsamoro government if they would still push through with the privatization later on.

Majority of the hydro power source comes from the state-run Agus-Pulangui Hydroelectric Power Complex, comprising seven hydroelectric plants such as Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5, Agus 6, and Agus 7 in the Lanao provinces and Pulangui 4 in Bukidnon.

MinDA Executive Director Romeo Montenegro speaks during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” in Davao City on Oct. 24, 2018. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

 

The rehabilitation would cost about $1 billion or about P53.78 billion which will be sourced through foreign loans, Montenegro said.

Last August 2018, the Department of Finance identified the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plants of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) as one of the major government projects that will be funded through possible parallel financing arrangement between China and World Bank.

The actual rehabilitaiton works on the plants will start immediately after the six-month feasibility study will have been completed, Montenegro added.

The rehabilitation, he said, will take two years and will include replacement of many parts, including turbines and other big components. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)

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