The Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) power plant maintenance and operations team is all set for its Q4 operations.

The Alsons Power Group’s Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) is on track to begin commercial operations in the 4th quarter of 2015 for the first 105 Mega Watt (MW) section of its 210 MW coal-fired power plant at Maasim, Sarangani. The plant will begin commissioning within the first half of 2015.

The operations and maintenance team that will man the SEC plant is already in place and ready to hit the ground running once operations commence. A total of 140 people—many of them licensed chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineers—were hired for the plant’s Organization, Operations and Maintenance teams as early as November 2014. The majority of these new hires are from the SEC plant’s immediate vicinity which includes General Santos City, Sarangani and South Cotabato as well as other places in Mindanao.  

Leading the highly select SEC team is Finnish power plant manager Jori Liimatta, armed with 20 years of power plant experience and expertise from 5 greenfield sites, and American operations and maintenance (O&M) manager Richard Mark Jones who will lend expertise from his years of overseas power plant experience. Both are from the Power Industry Consultants (PIC) Group that helps guide, train, coach and supervise the SEC plant’s work force.

Liimatta and Jones expressed full confidence in the well-trained team’s ability to handle SEC’s requirements once Q4 operations commence.

“The most important part of the operations is the people. Without the right people, you can’t do it. We wanted to find the right people who possess the willingness to learn. We’re fortunate to train the people and we are pleasantly surprised that we have recruited intelligent, young individuals who are willing to learn. They have maintained an average score of 98 in all courses we’ve taught. The ones that were hired are truly exceptional,” says Liimatta.

The soon-to-open SEC plant is intended to be part of a long-term solution to the ongoing power crisis in Mindanao.

“SEC is one of the few plants that will be operating this year to provide a lasting and sustainable solution to the five-year-old power shortage in Mindanao. The project’s section 1 will ensure power security in an area that will serve more than 3 million people and another 3 million people for section 2,” says Alsons Power Project Implementation Vice President and head of Coal Operations Nicandro R. Fucoy.

“When the SEC plant reaches its full capacity, more than 6 million people will have access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity,” Fucoy added.

Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. and SEC chairman Tomas I. Alcantara emphasizes the critical contribution of the SEC power plant that is set to open in the fourth quarter in mitigating the power problem in Mindanao. 

Once it begins commercial operations in the 4th quarter of 2015, the SEC plant will provide power to the provinces of Sarangani, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur; the cities of General Santos, Iligan, Bayugan, Butuan, Samal, and Tagum as well as key municipalities in Davao del Norte and South Cotabato.

By the time the SEC plant reaches its full 210 MW capacity, its coverage area will encompass the entire province of South Cotabato, the whole province of Zamboanga del Norte and key areas of North Cotabato. Major population centers serviced by the plant when it reaches full capacity will include the cities of Dagupan, Dipolog, Koronadal and Kidapawan.  

At US$570 million, the SEC plant is the single largest investment in the province of Sarangani and the entire Region 12. Aside from the SEC plant, Alsons Power is developing the 105 MW San Ramon Power, Inc. coal-fired power plant in Zamboanga City.

Alsons Power currently operates three diesel plants in Mindanao: Mapalad Power Corporation’s 103 MW plant in Iligan City, the 55 MW Southern Philippines Power Corporation facility in Alabel, Sarangani, and the 100 MW power plant of the Western Mindanao Power Corporation in Zamboanga City.