DOE to look into TSI’s claim blackout damaged its facility

by Lenie Lectura, 16 April 2015
from BusinessMirror

In Photo: Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla during The Round Table forum held at the BusinessMirror offices in Makati City.

ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla on Thursday said his office would investigate Therma South Inc. (TSI),  a subsidiary of AboitizPower Corp., whose power facility in Davao City was damaged by the recent Mindanao-wide blackout.

In a discussion hosted on Thursday by the BusinessMirror, the energy chief bared an inquiry into the cause of the power failure and the damage it wrought, implying this could have been avoided entirely had the company put in place preventive measures in the first place.

“My question to them is simple—Where is their circuit breaker? Why are they the only ones affected? They can say all they want, but they are a party of interest. We will investigate this,” Petilla said.

Company representatives did not reply when sought for comments.

There was a seven-hour power outage that hit Mindanao on April 5. TSI President Benjie A. Cariaso Jr. said initial findings show the disruption wrecked the auxiliary components to the boiler equipment of Unit 2.

In particular, the auxiliary components to the boiler of Unit 2 of TSI’s 300-megawatt (MW) coal-power plant were damaged. Affected machinery and components included the air preheater, as well as the electrostatic precipitator, which is part of the power plant’s pollution-control system.

The property damage will delay the commercial operations of Unit 2 by approximately 10 months, or
until February 2016.  Units 1 and 2 of the power plant have yet to be turned over to TSI by their contractors.  TSI was scheduled to put online Unit 2 with the Mindanao grid last week. Full commercial operations were supposed to happen a month later.

More than 20 distribution utilities and electric cooperatives have signed up to receive capacity from TSI.

The TSI official assured the public that the status of Unit 2 will not affect the commissioning of Unit 1, which remains on schedule, and should reach commercial operation by end-June.

“We will update all stakeholders of further developments. We remain committed to do everything we can to support Mindanao with its power needs,” Cariaso had said.

A more detailed assessment of the extent of the repairs needed is being conducted. TSI also intends to conduct a full review to determine all contributing factors that led to the plant incident to ensure appropriate measures are taken.

Early this month, Mindanao suffered a seven-hour power outage. Officials reported of a grid disturbance caused by a detached conductor that hit the capacitor voltage transformer (CVT). The conductor connects the CVT, which is a metering equipment, to the Agus switchyard that, in turn, is connected to the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power complex in Lanao del Sur.

The Department of Energy has ruled out sabotage in the Mindanao grid-wide blackout.

The energy chief formed a team to conduct an investigation. Petilla said a report was already submitted to his office but he has yet to read it. “Part of investigation is to identify which areas are not likely going to fail so this will not happen again,” he said.

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