By Myrna M.Velasco
With continuing upgrade and reinforcements already being done for its operating efficiencies, state-run National Power Corporation (NPC) is now reducing the targeted rehabilitation cost for the 727-megawatt Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex to the level of P30 billion to P35 billion from a higher estimate of P54 billion previously.
“The latest rehabilitation cost could just be at P30 billion to P35 billion because we have been continuing with other rehabilitation and improvements at the plant – like replacement of transformers and other equipment. We opted to have savings on the cost because that will entail borrowings,” NPC President Pio J. Benavidez has told reporters.
The initially calculated financing of P54 billion was submitted to Finance Secretary and NPC Board Chairman Carlos Dominguez III in 2017, but several operational reinforcements had already been undertaken at the Mindanao-sited hydropower complex since then.
On the programmed rehab works for the Agus-Pulangui hydropower facilities, Benavidez indicated that the World Bank is scheduled to submit the “best option” framework by December this year.
The NPC chief executive emphasized that there had been three options initially sorted out for the hydropower facility’s overhaul: first is to retain its capacity; second is to decrease its capacity by 10-percent; and the third one delves with water management on the six river systems that have been providing the water being utilized for electricity generation at the Agus and Pulangui plants.
The World Bank’s evaluation for the ‘best option’ as well as the subsequent feasibility study, according to NPC, will require an initial funding of US$2.0 million – which the multilateral lending firm will be providing.
The next phase after determining the ‘best option’ for the rehab works will be the conduct of feasibility study, which is scheduled to begin in March next year and set for completion after 48 weeks or at least a year.
The outcome of the feasibility study, according to Benavidez, shall be the basis for the bidding of the contract for the rehabilitation work on the Agus-Pulangui facilities – and that is targeted to commence in year 2021.