NPC totally shuts down Agus 4 hydro plant for repair

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/22 August) – The National Power Corporation (NPC) has totally shutdown the Agus 4 hydroelectric plant in Lanao del Norte since August 15, which is expected to bring back rotating brownouts in parts of Mindanao that may last until mid-October.

At the regular session of the city council here on Tuesday presided by Vice Mayor Ruderic Marzo, lawyer Romero Pacilan, NPC spokesperson, said the 25-year old state-owned power plant would undergo major repair to restore its efficiency.

Pacilan said the Agus 4, which has a generating capacity of 150 megawatts (MW), was supposed to be shutdown last May, but the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) requested the NPC to defer it due to supply insufficiency in the Mindanao grid after the holding of the midterm national and local elections.

The NGCP is the private operator of the country’s transmission network.

But even without Agus 4, Pacilan said the NPC “can still supply the Mindanao grid with 930 MW, just 30 MW short of its 960 MW contracted supply to electric cooperatives.”

Engr. Pedro Ambos, NPC planning and operations division chief, said “the major repair will run for 66 days but we will try our best to shorten it to 45 days.”

After the major repair of Agus 4, Unit 2 of the Pulangi hydropower plant will also be up for repair after it suffered heavy damage from the onslaught of typhoon Pablo last year, he added.

Unit 4 of Agus 6, which can now produce only 35 MW out of its 50 installed capacity, also needs repair due to the electrical problem of its equipment, Ambos said, adding that Units 1 and 2 will follow suit.

The repair of Agus 6’s Unit 4 has a budget of P425 million from state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., he said.

With the latest development on the power situation in Mindanao, Vice Mayor Marzo expressed concern over the possible longer rotating brownouts in this city.

“We have already experienced brownouts in some areas in Iligan City last Monday evening, [which is served by the] Iligan Light and Power, Inc. (ILPI),” he said.

The ILPI has contracted supply agreements with the NPC for 15 MW and 10 MW from the Mapalad Power Corp. (MPC), which is owned by the Alcantara Group of Companies.

Engr. Robin Ramillo MPC plant manager said the ILPI management requested them for an additional supply of five MW.

However, he added that MPC’s existing 76 MW capacity have already been allocated to various cooperatives in different areas of the island.

“We are trying our best to find ways to help consumers in Iligan City not to suffer much from rotating brownouts,” Ramillo said.

Engr. Keenan Erigbuagas, ILPI spokesperson said the city has experienced a two-hour rotating brownout Tuesday evening after the NPC informed ILPI that Unit 2 of Agus 6 was forced to have an emergency shutdown, aside from the total shutdown of Agus 4. (MindaNews)