CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 December) – The aging Agus 6 hydroelectric power plant in Iligan City, commissioned in 1953, will
get an additional lifespan of 30 years as the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Northern Mindanao approved its P2.6-billion uprating.
Aside from the extended lifespan of Agus 6’s Units 1 and 2 , the uprating project will increase the plant’s capacity from 50 megawatts (mw) to 62. The dependable capacity of the plant will then be increased to 35 mw from the current 25 mw.
The upgrading had long been proposed and was in fact approved by the Investment Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the National Economic
Development Authority (NEDA) in 2006 but implementation of the project has been delayed due to bidding process problems.
Iligan City mayor Lawrence L. Cruz, concurrent RDC chair, said the uprating of Agus 6 is part of the contingency measures to mitigate the
impact of power shortage in Mindanao.
NEDA 10 Dir. Leon M. Dacanay, Jr. said the uprating will be funded from the internal cash generation of the National Power Corporation.
He said this is one of the top priority projects in the 2004-2010 Regional Development Plan of Northern Mindanao.
Power shortage in Mindanao has greatly affected its economic growth, he said. No new baseload power plant has been approved for construction in the last 15 years. With an average economic growth of 4.5 percent in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), power supply in the island has been going haywire.
Current power reserves of seven percent is below the threshold of 13 percent and mechanical issues in the aging hydro electric power plants
have plunged the island in darkness especially during the summer months this year.
Despite poor power supply, power users in the island have suffered sky rocketing power rates as the Mindanao grid was fed with expensive
power from diesel power plants like the power barges on Therma Marine, Inc. in Maco Compostela Valley and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
(BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)