Virac LGU backs NPC plan to moor power barge at port
posted 4-Mar-2019  ·  
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The Sangguniang Bayan of Virac has endorsed the National Power Corporation’s plan to utilize a portion of the Virac port as temporary mooring site of the power barge to be deployed here to stave off a projected power deficiency during the summer months.

The legislative council’s resolution was signed by the SB members last week following the Feb. 11, 2019 letter of Mayor Samuel Laynes informing the council of the urgency to affirm the local government’s support for the use of the Virac port’s backup area by Power Barge 106 to ensure a stable and steady supply of electricity during the peak of summer that would coincide with the midterm elections on May 13, 2019.

It may be recalled that as early as September last year, NPC officials led by president and chief executive officer Pio Benavidez began preparing for the expected power shortfall here in the summer of 2019, approving the deployment of a power barge for six months.

A team of technical personnel inspected potential mooring sites at Codon in San Andres, Camburo in Pandan, Bagamanoc town and the former power barge site in Bato.

The team took into consideration three criteria: water deep enough to accommodate the barge, safety during inclement weather, and distance from a power substation.

Pres. Benavidez reportedly chose Codon port, as it is near the Codon substation of the NPC’s 69-KV transmission line in barangay Asgad. The old site in Bato had been ruled out as two power barges had been washed away by storm surges in the past.

However, the water off Codon port also proved to be shallow, with NPC next eyeing San Andres port.

In January 2019, NPC Vice President for Small Power Utilities Atty. Rogel Teves sought the approval of Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) acting Bicol port manager Fatima Reaso for the use of a portion of San Andres port as the ideal mooring site because of its favorable depth, site location and current sea condition that could guarantee the safety and efficient operations of the power barge.

But an actual assessment by the NPC survey team on Jan. 28-29, 2019 found out that the depth of the proposed site is only 3.8 to 4 meters, which does not satisfy the required draft of 6 meters of the barge.

On the other hand, a bathymetric survey of the newly constructed backup area of Virac port showed that it has a draft of 7 meters, which is more than enough to accommodate the power barge.

VP Teves said the mooring plan, including tender documents and other necessary requirements for the construction of the temporary mooring site is now being prepared.

Under the NPC plan, PB 106, with an installed capacity of 14.4 megawatts, will be deployed by the 2nd quarter of CY 2019, or by April, to improve the power supply security and reliability of the Catanduanes Grid during the summer months and for the coming elections.

According to the power firm, power demand on the island is expected to increase to 13 MW during summer, with all three hydro power plants of NPC and Sunwest Water & Electricity Co. (SUWECO) with a total capacity of 5.4 MW not on full-load operation due to low water levels at the dams and forebays by the time.

Funds for the operation and maintenance of the barge for the six-month deployment have already been included in the NPC’s proposed budget for 2019.

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