P54-B needed for Agus-Pulangi hydro plants rehab: DOF
THE government will require approximately P54 billion to finance the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi hydro power plants of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) in Mindanao in a bid to increase capacity and extend service life by 30 more years, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Following a report by Napocor president Pio Benavidez on the status of the plants, Dominguez said the timing of the rehabilitation of the facilities was appropriate.
“Let us do it now [because] we are not under pressure,” Dominguez told Benavidez at a recent Executive Committee (Execom) meeting of the Department of Finance (DOF)
In rehabilitating the facilities, Benavidez said at the Execom meeting that the government needs to take advantage of the fact that there would be an expected power oversupply in Mindanao in the next three years.
Benavidez said the Agus 6 facility will be rehabilitated first as it is the oldest facility, with the biggest output. This would be followed by Agus 2 and Agus 7.
The rehabilitation of units 3 to 5 of Agus 6 costs around $172.5 million; Agus 2, $207 million; Agus 7, $62.10 million; Agus 4 and 5, $245.07 million; Pulangi 4, $293.25 million; and Agus 1, $92 million.
The total estimated cost of rehabilitating these facilities is around $1.07 billion or approximately P54 billion.
Benavidez said these facilities are currently operating at around 60 percent of their over 900-megawatt rated capacity.
He said the P54 billion would finance the replacement of old transformers as well as the old electrical equipment to make these facilities more reliable.
The rehabilitation could take place from four to five years and would increase the total capacity by an average of 10 percent for each facility.
After the rehabilitation, total capacity would reach more than 1,000 megawatts, he said.
Benavidez said the rehabilitation should be done phase by phase because the facilities could not be shut down simultaneously.
Agus 6 has been operating for 40 years, followed by Agus 2 (37 years) and Agus 7 (34 years). Other facilities include Agus 4, 5 and Pulangi 4 (31 years) and Agus 1 (25 years).
In the past, previous steps were taken to maintain these facilities. These include periodic preventive maintenance servicing.
In a press briefing later, Dominguez said he and the other members of the President's economic team had already briefly discussed with Chinese officials the second basket of projects for possible ODA financing, which included the Agus plants.
“We discussed also the basket of the next projects which is a basket of about six or eight projects. Among them which is quite important to us is the rehabilitation of the Agus river hydroelectric system,” Dominguez told reporters.
MULTI-BILLION REHAB. The Department of Finance said that the government will require approximately P54 billion to finance the rehabilitation of the Agus and Pulangi hydro power plants of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) in Mindanao. File photo is Pulangi 4 in Bukidnon.