SUWECO delivering just half of its promised 18.15-mW capacity

An analysis of the power supply situation in Catanduanes as of Oct. 14, 2021 shows the grid has available power supply of 16,010 kilowatts, more than enough to address the estimated demand of 11,600 kW.
However, the reserve of 4,410 kilowatts and a thousand more are contributed by power plants of the National Power Corporation, which is being operated only as the need arises.
Data indicates that the main supplier of First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) is supposed to deliver a total of 18,150 kW under its original Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA) plus its back-up diesel plants under Amendments 1 and 2.
Under the agreements, Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO) is obligated to deliver a dependable capacity of 2,100 kW from its Solong Hydro Power Plant, 1,500 kW from its Hitoma 1 HPP, 5,950 kW from its Solong Diesel Power Plant, 6,900 kW from its Marinawa DPP and 3,200 kW from its Viga DPP.
This production from its existing power plants thus should have a total dependable capacity of 19,650 kilowatts, not including the 1,575 kW supposed to come from the undelivered Hitoma 2 HPP and the 2,000 kW from the uncompleted Capipian HPP.
By this time, based on the original ESA, SUWECO should have already put in place a total of 23,225 kW in power plants.
Instead, the non-delivery of the Hitoma 2 and Capipian plants, the seasonal production of the two existing hydro power plants and its dependence on fault-prone, high-speed diesel gensets has the power company able to deliver a maximum of only 10,720 kilowatts at any time as of Oct. 14, 2021.
According to the power situation report issued on the same day, two gensets in its Solong DPP has been shut down due to unstable voltage and for overhauling while four units at its Marinawa plant was taken out of the grid for replacement of alternators and radiator.
At its Viga plant, one unit has been pulled out for undisclosed reasons, leaving three gensets operating.
The deficiency of 880 kilowatts is thankfully being provided by NPC’s standby power plants which has a dependable capacity of 5,290 kilowatts despite the fact that its Balongbong hydro power plant is operating with only one unit and two of its diesel gensets are non-operational.
A power industry official told the Tribune that consumers in Catanduanes are paying more for SUWECO’s diesel-generated “back-up” electricity.
He said that the difference between the subsidized power rate of about P6 per kilowatt-hour and its true cost cost of about P14 per kwh is being paid to SUWECO through the Universal Charge-Missionary Electrification (UCME) charge that is included in the monthly billings.

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