PSALM, DOE accountabilities pressed on Malaya repair deal

by Myrna Velasco, February 21, 2015
from Manila Bulletin

A government-owned power plant is deemed the “weak link” in the provision of solution to the summer month’s critical supply, hence, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) and Department of Energy (DOE) are being pinned on their accountabilities to the questionable award of the overhaul contract for one unit of the 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power plant in Pililla, Rizal.

PSALM gave word that the generating unit, of about 300 megawatts, could have been up before March 15 this year. But its deal with an “inexperienced contractor” had turned expectations futile.

psalm logoEnergy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla previously noted that they have not aligned the “overhauled” Malaya unit to be part of the summer capacity solutions.

But if taken from the pronouncements of PSALM, manifestly they could have done something about ensuring the timely repair of the facility.

A party-list lawmaker who has been keenly monitoring developments in the power sector has averred “if brownouts take place, the DOE and PSALM must be held accountable for their failure to revive Malaya which could have provided more than 600MW to power supply.”

It has to be emphasized that one unit of the Malaya plant at more than 300MW is currently operating, but the other one of the same capacity had been on shutdown since last year due to “high vibration” problem at its turbine.

Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares recounted that PSALM has awarded the plant’s overhaul contract to a Korean company STX Marine Service Co. Ltd, “whose main experience is shipping and not maintaining power plants.”

The awardee-firm then sub-contracted the engine repair works to another Korean firm IWHA which is similarly lacking in experience and competence in overhauling HP Barrel Siemens turbine – the type of technology utilized at the Malaya plant.

“After one month of overhaul practice by IWHA, the HP barrel turbine overhaul is now delayed in its implementation and because of IWHA’s inexperience on HP barrel Siemen’s turbine, some parts like coupling bolts were also damaged,” Colmenares said.

The next step done by STX Marine was to sub-contract components of the repair work again to another South Korean firm Shiloh – mainly to provide manpower and tools needed for the turbine’s overhaul.

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