Dirty nozzle adds to power woes

AS most of Manila struggled with power-cuts of up to eight hours yesterday, the Hopewell group shut down its new, 100-megawatt Navotas II power plant for the second time in its short life span to allow engineers to clean a fuel nozzle.

Mr Edgardo Bautista, president of Hopewell Energy Corp, said the problem, caused by debris collecting on a nozzle, was not unusual.

The shutdown is expected to last about four days.

Navotas II was the first of seven fast-track power projects commissioned by Philippine President Fidel Ramos.

It was inaugurated last month by Mr Ramos and Hopewell Holdings managing director Gordon Wu after being completed in a record 81/2 months.

Days before the inauguration, it had to be shut down for several hours because of a fuel delivery mix-up by National Power.

Because of breakdowns at several ageing power plants on Luzon Island, prolonged power-cuts have been forecast for the remainder of the week.

The power deficit yesterday was estimated to be about 1,000 megawatts.

Mr Raul Concepcion, chairman of the multi-sector task force on power scheduling, said power interruptions lasting as long as nine hours could hit Manila and the rest of Luzon Island this week.

Mr Bautista said a proposal by Mr Wu to add as many as 2,000 MW to the Luzon grid had been formally submitted to the President, but the group had received no response.

Under the plan, four 668-MWcoal-fired units would be built at the firm's site at Pagbilao Grande Island.

Meanwhile, Ayala Corp, the diversified property-based Philippine giant, has reported a net income of 1.6 billion pesos (about HK$488 million) last year.

The result was 20 per cent lower than the record two billion peso income posted in 1991.

A spokesman said that the record figure in 1991 had included non-recurring items such as a 741 million peso sale of shares.