Iligan diesel plant rehab fast-tracked

Alcantara group eyes September activation


The Alcantara group is racing to complete by September this year the P1.2-billion rehabilitation of the Iligan diesel power plant to help ease the worsening power crisis in Mindanao.

The group, through its subsidiary Mapalad Power Corp. admitted, however, that it will be a “tough job” to ensure the full operation of the facility at 98 megawatts due to poor maintenance records and the scarcity of parts in the market.

“It is a tough order, but we will try our best to deliver the most we can in the shortest possible time,” Mapalad power plant manager Ruben Ramilo said in a statement.

Once the 30-year-old diesel-fired power plant resumes operations this September, the electricity produced by the plant will be the “first solid action on the ground to address the four- to eight-hour daily brownouts in Mindanao that has left large communities and businesses reeling.”

According to Alsons Power Group VP for operations Edgar D. Sevilles, Mapalad began the rehabilitation work only last March 11, 2013. The diesel-fed facility is expected to begin operating on a ramp-up basis within this month, thus providing electricity-starved Mindanao with an additional power source.

“Restoring the diesel generating units back to its optimum condition is not an easy task. We have to verify which unit needs major overhaul and which unit needs only minor overhaul,” Sevilles explained.

“The problem is that we do not have complete historical data that will tell us how these units were operated and maintained by the previous operator. We’ll have to make assumptions and random inspections in order to map out plans of action for each unit and for all other auxiliary equipment and facility,” he added.

Another stumbling block, according to Sevilles, is the availability of replacement parts and equipment especially for the electrical items.

“Some of these items are already obsolete and are no longer available in the market and thus need to be completely replaced with updated models. Some would take around three to four months for the suppliers to deliver these items, so we’ll have to consider this lead time in projecting our load ramp up schedule. But as we have said, we will try our best to stay on track with our target schedules despite these difficulties,” Sevilles further explained.

Mapalad Power has already signed power sales agreements with various distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in Mindanao. These agreements cover roughly 90 percent of the 98-MW targeted output of the Iligan plant.

The Iligan diesel facility was originally developed and operated by the Alcantara Group through its subsidiary, Northern Mindanao Power Corp. (NMPC), under two energy conversion agreements with state-run National Power Corp.

The power units were then turned over to Napocor at the respective expirations of the two agreements in 2003 and 2006 and were subsequently acquired by the City of Iligan in 2007. Napocor continued operating the plants until 2010.

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  • Ben

    The government must implement a policy of building hydro power plants with hybrid features in cases of draught or maintenance, a natural gas fed plant (cheaper than diesel) should be able to fire when they were closed. PPP should require builder to build hybrid power plants so it will be able to run in diesel, natural gas, coal or even hydro if necessary. But this government should interconnect the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao power grid in order that other islands with excess power can distribute electricity efficiently to areas needed….such as in Mindanao now…. The government must maintain(strategic in cases of natural disaster, or needed in some islands) and upgrade its power barges so these can also operate in natural or coal fed system.

    • tadasolo

      I have spent 30 years building power plants in the USA and do have an idea about a hybrid pant combining hydro and natural gas. Can you elaborate?

      • Ben

        That`s innovation Mr. Go back to the drawing board and find out if you still have enough of the so called ingenuity…who knows you might even patent it and might be branded the father of hybrid electric power plant!.

    • les21reago

      You sounds like WALKING in the park to building a Power Plant…You have that POLITICO potentials.

      • Ben

        I have been saying this since PNoy came to power and even during the last part of GMA`s power because I already predicted most of our social illnesses….and the country never missed in doing the same thing…I think that`s the reason why El Fili and Noli Me Tangere two novels written by Rizal are still current in our times…

      • Ronilo Yap

        Ben, industries are not BUILDING BRANCHES/ANNEXES. NO EXPANSION OF ESTABLISHMENT, NO NEW MALL IS RISING. That’s why we are not short of electricity.

      • Ben

        Galing mo ah, galling mong talanka mentality :)

      • Ronilo Yap

        Galing mo ah. Galing ngangawa.

  • buritos

    Pnoy nman kasi ang bagal, kung hindi siguro eleksyon malamang itsapwera
    parin kming taga Mindanao.Sana ng maupo sya sa pwesto dapat ginawan nya na
    ng paraan. Pnoy kalahati napo kayo sa termino ngayon lng po yata kyo nagising.

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