FICELCO board agrees to run SUWECO gensets but….
posted 10-Apr-2019  ·  
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Adequate power supply will be assured this summer after the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) agreed with the proposal of Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO) to operate its 6.6-megawatt diesel gensets this April even without the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a coordination meeting with the FICELCO Board of Directors, SUWECO officials Buenaventura Co and Floro Barrameda committed to run the six 1.1-MW gensets at the Subsidized Approved Generation Rate (SAGR) of P5.6404/kWh, with the company to file a petition for recovery of the difference with the actual cost later once the ERC approves the 2nd Amendment of the Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA) with FICELCO.

The application for approval of the 2nd Amendment covering the new diesel gensets has been pending before ERC, which recently required SUWECO to secure an indorsement from the Department of Energy (DOE), which in turn required that the cooperative board, through a resolution, express its willingness to pursue the amendment.

That resolution was approved by the FICELCO board last week but with one major condition: that the amendment do away with the provision that, in case FICELCO needs additional power, SUWECO is obligated to supply the same.

The board heeded the advice of the cooperative’s legal counsel, Atty. Rizalina Velasco-Tañon, that the 2nd Amendment provision would be in contravention with the DOE Memorandum Circular mandating that all power procurements be done through a Competitive Selection Process (CSP).

According to FICELCO General Manager Engr. Raul Zafe, the board has at the same time petitioned Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian to persuade the National Power Corporation (NPC) to push through with the deployment of the power barge to Virac that was recently deferred by NPC President Pio Benavidez following SUWECO’s assurance on its 6.6-MW diesel power plant.

The NPC power barge, an official in the state power firm stated, has been set aside as the operation of the SUWECO gensets would mean that Catanduanes would have more than enough power reserve for the summer months and beyond.

SUWECO’s Barrameda said during the meeting with co-op directors that, in addition to the two 1.1-MW gensets already installed at the FICELCO power plant compound, two more were set to arrive before the end of March, with the other two to be delivered early April.

GM Zafe disclosed that two units will be installed at NPC’s Viga power plant under a memorandum of agreement signed by the private power supplier with NPC while of the two others, one will be added to Viga DPP and the other to replace a defective unit at Solong DPP.

The 3.3-MW available power at Viga would be more than enough to supply the towns of Viga, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, Pandan and Caramoran, GM Zafe declared.

It would also allow technical personnel of the cooperative to undertake massive line rehabilitation through the “islanding” of power lines without resorting to power interruptions, he added.

GM Zafe also bared that the solar power plant being proposed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will likely be cancelled after the latter said it is having difficulty sourcing funding for the grant from Japanese financing institutions.

JICA officials have reportedly promised the cooperative to look for other sources of financing like World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), and to provide FICELCO with a SCADA system to be given for free on the condition that the cooperative pays for the annual subscription fee for as long as it uses the system.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) refers to an industrial computer system that monitors and controls the transmission and distribution elements of electrical utilities. In FICELCO’s case, it will monitor substations, transformers and other electrical assets for increased reliability of the power grid.

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