PSALM to repair 982-MW hydro plant
State-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. expects to start the rehabilitation of the 982-megawatt Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants in Mindanao next year.
PSALM officer-in-charge Lourdes Alzona said the government was looking at rehabilitating the facility, before its privatization to generate more investor interest and higher value for the project.
“There’s the oversupply, and then the condition of the plant. To improve the value, rehabilitate first. What is being looked at now is what type of rehab and when will it be completed,” Alzona said.
The official said PSALM was identifying several options for the repair.
“Because there is oversupply [in Mindanao], let’s take advantage… until next year. We should rehab. We hope to start [next year]. It will take time not only months, depending on what is being rehabilitated. We cannot do it [all units] simultaneously,” Alzona said.
PSALM manages the assets and liabilities of National Power Corp. as mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
PSALM is also mandated to privatize the remaining power assets of the government such as the Agus-Pulangi hydro plants.
The Finance Department is pushing for the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi power plants before their privatization.
Some of the Agus units were constructed as early as the 1950s and many sectors have been calling for an extensive rehabilitation of the facilities so that the plants can operate at an optimum efficiency.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who also chairs PSALM, earlier said the facility, the biggest remaining power asset of the government, was operating at only 40 percent of its over 900-megawatt rated capacity.
“We have to fix it first…It’s operating only 40 percent of its total capacity, so we think that if we use Chinese ODA [overseas development assistance] money, we will get it up to speed, use it as baseload for Mindanao and then probably look at some kind of privatization, but not selling it,” Dominguez said.
“We have to get [over] the first hurdle, fix it first,” Dominguez said.