Concepcion coal power plant denies explosion
ILOILO – Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) denied there was an explosion or gas poisoning at its coal-fired power plant in Barangay Nipa, Concepcion town on the night of Oct. 29.
In a statement issued yesterday, PCPC’s Ma. Cristina Cabalhin, vice president for corporate affairs, clarified that the coal-fired power plant was undergoing preventive maintenance, thus not operational.
The plant shut down on Oct. 21 yet. It won’t be operating for about a month until all preventive maintenance works are completed, stressed Cabalhin.
On Sunday night as maintenance work was ongoing at the coal-fired power plant, there was a sudden outflow of fly ash in one of the ash chambers being cleaned.
“This caused clouding that was mistaken by nearby residents as smoke coming from the plant,” Cabalhin explained.
As an immediate safety measure, according to PCPC, residents near the coal-fired power plant were immediately evacuated.
Fly ash, also known as “pulverized fuel ash”, is a coal combustion product composed of fine particles. In modern coal-fired power plants, fly ash is generally captured by particle filtration equipment before gases reach the chimneys.
According to reports, some Barangay Nipa residents complained of chest pain and the Municipal Health Office had them checked.
Finding that the residents were all in good health, “they were sent home the next day…they were all safe and unharmed,” stressed Cabalhin.
Barangay Nipa had been hosting a 135-megawatt coal plant for a year now.
In August, Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional director Jim Sampulna said his agency had a real-time monitoring of the coal plant’s emissions.
He urged the coal plant’s management to constantly monitor the health of residents nearby.
“I also requested them to establish a clinic for residents as well as livelihood opportunities,” said Sampulna.
According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the emissions of PCPC’s coal-fired power plant were below pollution levels.
ERC is the government agency tasked to regulate the electric power industry and protect the interests of consumers.
“It is very well admitted that power plants, especially coal plants, sometimes add to pollution but in your case, you are below the pollution limit set by DENR,” said ERC commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana during a visit to Concepcion just this August.
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