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Iligan diesel plant rehab to start soon as ownership row ‘settled’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 March) – The Alcantara Group is due to rehabilitate the 102-megawatt (MW) Iligan-diesel plant after ownership issues with the city government has been resolved, a company executive said Monday.

Oscar Benedict Contreras III, Alsons Power Business Unit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said that mobilization for the rehabilitation of the Iligan plant “will begin this week.”

“Some relief from the brownouts can be expected before the end of summer,” he told MindaNews.

Contreras said that official transfer of the plant to the Mapalad Power Corp. (MPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly-listed Alsons Consolidated Resources (ACR), “will be this week pending some final documentary formalities with the Iligan city government.”

Mapalad, a wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly-listed Alsons Consolidated Resources, has signed a 30 MW supply deal with the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc., he said.

Socoteco II serves this city, which is suffering from a four-hour daily rotational brownout in the last few weeks.

The distribution utility, which also serves Sarangani province and parts of South Cotabato, said in an advisory on Monday that the lack of power supply in the city was due to the generation deficiency in the Mindanao grid.

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II manager, said the deal with MPC, which was signed last month, would raise the power supply in its service areas from 82 MW to 112 MW once the Iligan plant would go on stream.

Socoteco II’s supply from the state-owned National Power Corp was earlier reduced from 72 MW to 52 MW.

The supply cut from Napocor prompted Socoteco II to seek 30 MW from Therma Marine, Inc. that brings the cooperative’s current supply at 82 MW.

On Monday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines placed the supply shortfall in the Mindanao grid at 283 MW. Demand for the day was expected to peak at 1,141 MW against the capacity of only 858 MW.

Aside from Socoteco II, Contreras said the MPC also signed a supply deal with two other electric cooperatives, which he did not identify, in Mindanao so far.

The acquisition of the Iligan diesel plant, identified as one of the solutions to ease Mindanao’s power woes, from the city government was being worked out since last year, with the Commission on Audit conducting the procedural review for the transfer of ownership.

The Iligan local government earlier put the power plant in auction after the state-owned National Power Corp. reportedly failed to settle the real property tax due to the city.

The Alcantara Group originally operated the Iligan diesel power plant, formerly the Northern Mindanao Power Plant, through the build-operate-transfer scheme. The company turned the power plant to Napocor in 2003. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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