SUWECO assures spate of brownouts will end this week
posted 24-Jul-2019  ·  
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Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO) last week assured that the current spate of power outages would end this week with the arrival and installation of a power transformer for its Solong diesel power plant.

According to the company’s business unit head, Floro Barrameda, the 2.75 mega volt-ampere (MVA) power transformer from Tablas island in Romblon was set to arrive Saturday, July 13, 2019, as replacement for the burnt 3.5-MVA transformer.

While the replacement has a lower rating than the defective one, Barrameda said it is adequate as the four diesel gensets that would be connected to it requires only a rating of 2.2 MVA.

He blamed the transformer’s failure to a power surge that was triggered by the sudden tripping of all plants, which occurred when the load dispatcher of FICELCO reportedly loaded Feeder 6B into the grid without informing the Solong DPP operator.

It is claimed that at the time the plant’s four 1.1-MW gensets were already producing 2.8 megawatts

The company’s assurance was made during the press conference called by the management of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) at its headquarters at Marinawa, Bato last July 10.

Barrameda also told the Tribune that the company is working out with the cooperative the transfer of two gensets from Solong to its Hitoma hydro power plant to address the low voltage issue at Caramoran and Pandan towns.

During the presscon, FICELCO general manager Raul Zafe disclosed that due to the non-operation of the SUWECO 1 DPP at Solong and the company’s Hitoma hydro power plant due to the damaged penstock, he had requested the National Power Corporation to defer the scheduled change-oil of the 3.6-MW diesel genset until after all its non-operational gensets are back to normal.

Four other gensets of Napocor are not operating for various technical reasons, which, along with the SUWECO burnt transformer, left the grid with a deficiency of 1.1 MW and causing the rotating brownouts beginning Saturday.

Zafe also bared that the Bato Water District has requested that the water flowing through the Balongbong hydro power plant be diverted to its distribution system as the poblacion badly needs potable water.

The cooperative, however, agreed only to have 50 percent given to BaWaD, with the water to flow straight to its pipes for 12 hours each day.

Due to lack of rain, Balongbong HPP with a capacity of 2.2 MW has been producing only 500 kilowatts.

To address the lack of power supply, he said, the board of directors has requested Napocor to facilitate the immediate repair of its three gensets at Marinawa DPP as the cooperative is expecting a considerable increase in load due to the energization anytime now of more than 4,500 indigent recipients of the Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE) Program of the Department of Energy.

GM Zafe also floated the possibility of adding a new baseload plant in partnership with the local government unit, as advised by Congressman Hector Sanchez.

If the LGU can put up 70% of the estimated P100 million cost, then FICELCO can come up with P30 million, he said.

Under the provisions of the Department of Energy circular on the procurement of new power providers through Competitive Selection Process (CSP), procurements funded by donations of grants are exempted, thus skipping the lengthy, time-consuming bidding process.

If the LGU-distribution utility venture pushes through, the SUWECO representative said it will be okay as long as the provisions in its Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA) with FICELCO are followed.

One of the key provisions in the SUWECO contract is the one in the 2nd Amendment which states that in case FICELCO needs additional power, it has to inform SUWECO and the latter is obligated to supply the same.

The board was earlier reported to have asked SUWECO to delete the provision, described in an audit as disadvantageous to the cooperative, for the joint submission of its application for approval with the ERC.

GM Zafe also reported that the 69-KV transmission line loop will be completed in 2022, with Napocor now undertaking payment of right-of-way to property owners affected by the line from Kilikilihan to Panganiban town now.

He added that the substation at Kilikilihan is now being constructed, with the bidding process for the Panganiban and Pandan substations already underway.

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