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Island power plants run out of fuel, includes Dinagat power plant

Several generation facilities under the National Power Corp.’s Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) have ceased operations, plunging areas they serve into darkness for up to over a month now. More facilities will stop operations by end-March when they finally run out of fuel.

Napocor documents obtained by the Inquirer showed that as early as January 17, the Casiguran diesel power plant in Aurora had run out of fuel and ceased operations. This meant areas served by the facility have been in darkness for more than a month now.

Other SPUG plants have since followed suit. The Cuyo diesel power plant in Palawan has been out of fuel since January 28, the Calapan modular diesel-fired unit in Oriental Mindoro since February 2, the Tandubas diesel plant and Power Barge 108 in Tawi-Tawi since February 3, the Camotes diesel facility in Cebu since February 4, and the Guintarcan plant in Cebu and the Dinagat plant in Surigao del Norte since February 5.

The Lubuagan facility in Kalinga, Mamburao modular in Occidental Mindoro, and Pilar plant in Cebu also ran out of fuel on February 6.

These plants, together with many others, had to stop operating when they ran out of fuel and their suppliers refused to deliver any more petroleum to them. The suppliers’ refusal to deliver stemmed from Napocor-SPUG’s non-payment of their fuel purchases.

Napocor-SPUG’s suppliers included Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp., Filpride Resources Inc. and Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc.

Plants that were still operating were also slated to run out of fuel in the next few weeks if Napocor would not be able to find a way to pay its fuel-related arrears.

Some of the plants under Napocor-SPUG had to resort to voluntarily shut down on some days to preserve the fuel they still had on stock. This enabled them to extend their fuel supply to as long as April or May. Some plants, however, simply did not have enough fuel to conserve.

Napocor president Froilan Tampinco said the state power firm would soon be able to pay SPUG’s fuel suppliers as it had asked the national government to reimburse the expenses it incurred in preserving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a facility considered a national government asset.

He said the state firm had initially sought P2 billion of the P4.2 billion that it had advanced to the national government these past years. The amount to be disbursed by the Department of Budget and Management would be earmarked solely for SPUG’s fuel purchases. (Inquirer.net)

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