Napocor finally pulls out, begins dismantling gensets in Cat’nes

With the expiration of its Phase-In-Phase-Out Agreement with the island’s electric cooperative, the National Power Corporation has began dismantling its generating sets at its two power plants.

Engr. Edwin Tatel, acting manager of NPC’s Small Power Utilities Group for Luzon Operations, confirmed to the Tribune last week that the state power firm is in the process of dismantling the diesel-powered units at Marinawa DPP and Viga DPP.

The removal of the gensets began last June 1, 2022, with all operational generating sets to be transferred to various plants within and outside of the Bicol region, pursuant to the Letter of Extension of the PIPO agreement signed by NPC, First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) and Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO), said Bicol Operations OIC-Manager Ariel Beo in his letter to FICELCO General Manager Raul Zafe.

At the Marinawa DPP, Napocor will dismantle eight gensets, two of which had already been deactivated.

Five are considered operational: the 3.6-megawatt Daihatsu, two 1-mW and three 300-kW units.

At Viga DPP, the 300-kW gensets for dismantling consist of two deactivated units and two operational ones.

Prior to the end of its supply agreement with FICELCO, Napocor had a total generator capacity of 9.1 mW, including the 1.8-mW Balongbong Hydroelectric-Power Plant (BHPP).

By the end of May this year, it has been dispatching only 1.2 mW on a standby arrangement.

With Napocor’s exit from the Catanduanes grid, SUWECO is now supplying the power demand of about 12 mW supplied to FICELCO’s 57,000 consumers.

SUWECO has 14 diesel gensets at its Marinawa DPP inside the FICELCO compound and three more at the Viga DPP, with a total net dependable capacity of 16.5 megawatts.

This does not include the production of the Solong Hydroelectric Power Plant and Hitoma I HPP, which have a combined net capacity of 3.6-mW but are producing only a total of 1.3 megawatts due to lack of water.

All in all, SUWECO has 17.6-mW capacity available for dispatch, with the island grid holding a net system reserve of about 6 mW.

Meanwhile, the FICELCO management is in talks with Napocor’s legal department regarding the cooperative’s repossession of the Balongbong HPP.

With NPC dragging its feet on the reappraisal of the value of the hydropower plant, the FICELCO board has granted authority to GM Zafe to secure the services of an appraiser to conduct the valuation of the power plant it once owned and operated before it was taken over by the national government in 1988.

Pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement executed at the time by NPC, FICELCO and the National Electrification Administration (NEA), the land on which Marinawa DPP stands will revert to FICELCO.

In the same agreement, FICELCO ceded to NPC the ownership of the Balongbong HPP and the land on which it stands.

However, the transfer of the land is legally infirm as the parcels comprising the property are covered by Deeds of Donation specifying that it can only be used by FICELCO for the purpose of operating the Balongbong plant.

GM Zafe expressed hope that Napocor would leave the Marinawa DPP building and other immoveable assets intact for use of the cooperative.

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