Thursday, August 4, 2011

Role of NPC-SPUG

NPC”s Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) is mandated by law to undertake the electrification of areas, called “missionary areas” in the Philippines not connected to the main transmission grid. SPUG is supposed to be committed to bring power “as a catalyst for development to the farthest, smallest and remotest areas and islands in furtherance of its mandate”.

Currently SPUG operates 317 generating units with total rated capacity of 147.675 megawatt in 86 areas. The operation serves 78 island grids and eight isolated grids catering to 3,330 barangays in 192 municipalities across the country.

NPC-SPUG currently supplies electricity to mainland Marinduque through the Boac Diesel Power Plant, Torrijos Diesel Power Plant and Power Barge 120 in Balanacan. There are also mini grids operating in the islands of Mongpong, Polo and Maniwaya under SPUG.

In January this year, NPC-SPUG’s mandate under the EPIRA for missionary electrification in the SPUG or off-grid areas faced a serious impediment with the government's decision to cut NPC’s corporate operating budget. It was slashed to more than half of the proposed Php 18.296 Billion, thus amounting to only Php 7.575 Billion. NPC reported that of the said amount Php 3.333 Billion was allocated to fuel and lube oil requirements which is Php 4.354 Billion shorter of the actual requirement amounting to Php 7.687 Billion.

NPC’s President Tampingco stated that based on such approved budget level, they will not be able to meet the funding requirement for fuel and lube oil supply for the year, and the amount would only ensure a five month supply until May or until June this year but with brownouts implemented in SPUG areas.