Three coal plant investigations kick off after foul odor complaint

September 24, 2010 12:34 pm 

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 23 – Three separate investigations are currently being conducted after reports of a foul odor coming from the first coal fired power plant in Iloilo City surfaced recently.

These investigations include the internal investigation of Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) which owns the coal-fired power plant, and the multipartite monitoring team (MMT) led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).

The third investigation is done by plant contractor Formosa Heavy Industries Inc. (FHI) of Taiwan.

Engr. Henry Alcalde, VP for operations of the PEDC, said that the internal investigation of PEDC is necessary since they also want to make sure that the plant is built and complies with the specifications.

Alcalde also assured that PEDC will take full responsibility if investigations point that they are the erring party.

On the other hand, MMT’s investigation which is led by DENR-EMB also aims to verify reports of the foul odor. In an interview, DENR director Oscar Cabanyan said that they will also check the mitigating measures of the power plant against pollution, including its operations.

Meanwhile, the third investigation is headed by Engr. Jeffrey Chen, commissioning team leader of FHI. Chen said that they want to identify the cause of the foul odor. The Taiwanese engineer said this is the first time they received such complaint.

Chen said that FHI has various power plants in different areas including Cebu City. He added that they have done various test-fires in coal fired power plant but it is only here in Iloilo City that they have encountered such an incident.

With the three on-going investigations, PEDC clarified that they will prioritize the report of the DENR even if its result is opposite with that of their company and of FHI. He said that DENR-EMB has the authority in this investigation.

The first test fire of the plant was done on September 4-17. All coal-fired power plants undergo test-firing before they are commissioned for full-blast operations.

Earlier, residents of Barangay Ingore, La Paz where the plant is located complained of foul odors coming from the plant since it started test-firing.

If completed, the power plant is expected to generate 184 MW and will supply power to Iloilo City and Panay. It is expected to operate by November this year. (PNA)

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