THE government needs approximately P54 billion to finance the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi hydro power plants of National Power Corp. in Mindanao in order to increase their output and extend service life by 30 more years, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Friday.
Dominguez, following a report by Napocor president Pio Benavidez on the status of the hydro-electric plants, 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 meeting of the Department of Finance.
Benavidez said the government must rehabilitate the plants to take advantage of an expected power oversupply in Mindanao in the next three years.
Benavidez said the Agus 6 facility would be rehabilitated first being the oldest facility and with the biggest output, followed by Agus 2 and Agus 7.
The rehabilitation of units 3-5 of Agus 6 will cost 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 the facilities is around $1.07 billion or approximately P54 billion.
Benavidez said plants were currently operating at around 60 percent of their over 900-megawatt rated capacity.
He said the rehabilitation replace old transformers electrical equipment to make the power plants 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. Total capacity after the rehabilitation would reach over 1,000 megawatts, Benavidez said.
He said the rehabilitation should be done phase by phase because the facilities could not be shut down simultaneously.
Agus 6 is the oldest after 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).
Dominguez last week said the rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi hydro power plants in Mindanao would be included in the second basket of projects to be presented by Manila to Beijing for possible financing.
Dominguez said in a briefing the rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi was critical because power would be essential to carry out the implementation of the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure projects.
He cited a discussion on the second basket of projects during the latest visit of the Philippine economic team to Beijing recently.
“We just reported that the Kaliwa Dam project and Chico River project have already gotten the nominees for the three potential bidders and we told them that we were moving ahead and going to get the bidding process going so that we can move forward with those two projects,” he told reporters.
The two water projects are included in the first batch of projects earlier presented to the Chinese government for financing.