ERC okays Agus plant’s switchyard upgrade

by Myrna Velasco – January 3, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The two-phased upgrade of the switchyard of the Agus 2 hydropower plant in Mindanao was given go-signal by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to address system vulnerability and inject power stability in the grid.

In its ruling, the regulatory body has directed project-implementor National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to “conduct competitive bidding for the purchase of major materials in the implementation of the proposed project.”

The project will cost P569.188 million based on budget set in the ERC’s decision. It will be sourced from the internally generated cash of NGCP.

“The contract for the supply of materials for the proposed projects will be assigned to qualified suppliers and contractors following a competitive bidding and selection process,” the ERC has emphasized.

The switchyard, it was noted, is currently in decrepit state – given the deterioration of its equipment and considering also its aging state.

“Out of the 15 power circuit breakers, 10 manifested rapid deteriorating conditions,” NGCP has manifested in its filing with the ERC.

It was further emphasized that the “associated equipment, such as disconnect switches, current and capacitive voltage transformers and lightning arresters are already outmoded and defective, thus, are due for replacement.”

NGCP similarly pointed out the difficulties it has been experiencing “in the maintenance and testing of the secondary equipment inside the control room of the National Power Corporation.”

The typical arrangement, it said, will be for them to seek clearance first from NPC “prior to the conduct of maintenance activities.”

“The difficulty in this arrangement is that the control, protection and metering wirings, including marshaling boxes of the secondary devices are prone to sudden loose contacts and accidental disconnection making it difficult to perform maintenance activities due to unorganized arrangement inside the control panels,” the transmission firm has explained.

It added that such “may lead to unfavorable incident and eventually to a significant grid failure.”

NGCP stressed that “to address these serious difficulties, all of the secondary devices and control system are proposed to be relocated and housed inside a separate control building of the switchyard.”