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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A KOREAN power firm is still keen on putting up a coal-fired power plant in Panay despite stiff opposition it met nine years ago.

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias said Korean Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) plans to convert the Panay Diesel Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo into a coal-fired power plant.

In an interview with the weekly cable TV talk show Serbisyo Publiko hosted by Councilor Perla Zulueta Sunday, Banias said Kepco has not lost interest in putting up a power plant in Panay.

Kepco is part owner of SPC Power Corp., the mother unit of SPC Island Power Corp. which bought PDPP and Bohol diesel fired power plant early this year for US$5 million.

“In fact, they told me that their main plan after buying the plant is to convert the PDPP into a coal-fired power plant. They are still interested in investing in the energy sector here in Panay,” Banias said.

Kepco first proposed to put up a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Tibiao, Antique but moved to Iloilo due to poor soil stability in the area.

The Korean power firm then planned to locate the project in the towns of Ajuy and later to Banate but it ultimately transferred to Cebu due to stiff opposition from environmental groups and the Catholic Church.

Kepco is now operating a US$270-million coal-fired power plant in Cebu.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


ONLY President Gloria Arroyo can save Panay Island from the worsening power shortage brought about by the privatization of Panay Diesel-fired Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo. 


Presidential assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias said only the President can order the deferment of PDPP’s turnover to SPC Power Corp. on March 26.


Banias, along with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Governor Niel Tupas Sr., will meet President Arroyo in Malacañang 4pm Wednesday to request the deferment of SPC’s takeover of the plant.


The three officials will present the resolution passed by the Regional Development Council’s infrastructure development committee asking for the postponement of PDPP’s privatization.


“All the other solutions such as the deployment of Power Barge 104 from Davao and the 15 megawatt generator sets are not possible anymore. Only the President’s intervention can save us,” Banias said.


Electric cooperatives fear that Panay will lose 54MW of electricity once SPC takes over PDPP next week.


Energy sector stakeholders said SPC is hesitant to operate the plant because of pricing issue and the rehabilitation of the decades old plant.


SPC does not have transition supply contracts with electric cooperatives, thus they are trapped between the prospects of expensive power rates and lack of electricity.


The Singaporean firm’s takeover of PDPP is expected to increase power rates in Panay as it will charge the real cost of power which is higher than National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) subsidized rates.


Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 2 director, said they will sue Napocor, the former owner of PDPP, if their franchise area is plunged into darkness.


Ileco 1 general manager Wilfred Billena said the privatization of PDPP should be deferred for the meantime until there is assurance of stable power supply for Panay.


SPC remains mum on PDPP’s privatization although industry sources said the Singaporean-based power firm has filed a petition for rate adjustment with the Energy Regulatory Commission before operating the plant.

Coops rile over PDDP sale


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE privatization of the National Power Corp.’s, (Napocor) Panay diesel-fired Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo would be disastrous to electric cooperatives and their consumers if they fail to forge agreements with the new owner.


This was the contention of Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco-1), over cable TV talk show Serbisyo Publiko hosted by Iloilo City Councilor Perla Zulueta Sunday.


Billena said they get 66% of their 30 megawatt power requirement from PDPP which was sold to SPC Power Corp. for more than US$5 million.


Earlier reports said SPC might not operate PDPP after March 26 for two reasons – rehabilitation of the plant and uncertainty over the price of power it will produce.


Worse, the power supply agreements between Napocor and Panay electric cooperatives which are good until December 2010 were not included in the sale to SPC.


“This is disastrous because we don’t know where to get the electricity we will lose if that happens. The Northern Negros geothermal production field is not performing as expected,” Billena said.


Billena said if they negotiate a new power supply agreement with SPC, the price of electricity will surely increase because the new owner will have to offer the true cost of power from a diesel-fired power plant.


Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Ileco-3 director, said they will sue Napocor if it fails to deliver electricity under their supply contract.


“Negotiating with SPC is one possibility but Napocor must fulfill their part to deliver power to the cooperatives because we have live contracts with them,” Ventilacion said over The Daily Guardian on Air Saturday program at Aksyon Radyo.


Ventilacion said the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) lacked foresight when it failed to include their contracts in the PDPP sale.


“We don’t care if PDPP was sold to SPC but we will demand the power we contracted with Napocor until 2010,” Ventilacion said.


Ventilacion, meanwhile, said their new power supply agreement with two renewable energy producers and two coal-fired power plants will be available January 2011. 


Even Panay Electric Co. (Peco), the sole power distributor in Iloilo City, will also be affected by the looming shutdown of PDPP.


Engr. Randy Pastolero, special assistant to Peco president Miguel Cacho, said they have a standing contract with Napocor to get 15MW from the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid. Presently, Peco only gets 8-9MW of the contracted electricity.


“Hopefully, Panay Power Corp.’s plants will not experience problems because if they do, we will suffer from brownouts because we don’t have reserve power which we ought to get from Napocor,” Pastolero said.


Presidential adviser for Western Visayas Raul Banias said the problems of the cooperatives and Napocor will be discussed during the March 13 power summit in Iloilo City.


Banias said among the proposals to address the problem is to rehabilitate Peco’ diesel-fired power plant and draw electricity from private generators.


“But it would take four months to rehabilitate Peco’s power plant and we have to inventory the amount of electricity we can get from private establishments,” Banias said.  


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE turnover of Panay Diesel-fired Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo to SPC Power Corp. will go on as scheduled.


Presidential adviser for Western Visayas Raul Banias said the national government will not delay the March 26 turnover of the plant to SPC despite apprehensions that it will worsen the power crisis in Panay Island.


Banias said delaying the PDPP turnover is one of the proposals they presented to President Gloria Arroyo and the Department of Energy (DOE) to prevent the power shortage from deteriorating.


But Banias said Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes rejected the proposed solution as the sale was already consummated.


Reyes also disapproved the transfer of Power Barge 104 in Davao City as it is scheduled for maintenance and repair.


“Secretary Reyes instead pushed for power augmentation program which they expect to arrest the looming shortage,” Banias said.


The DOE will mount an energy summit with the National Power Corp. (Napocor), SPC and other power sector stakeholders in the island to discuss and solve the energy crisis.


SPC Power Corp. (SPC), formerly Salcon Power Corp., won the bidding for the 146.5-megawatt (MW) Panay and 22-MW Bohol diesel power plants.


The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), which oversees the sale of government’s power assets, said SPC outbid two other firms after submitting the highest offer of $5.86 million for the two plants.


Atty. Conrad Tolentino, PSALM spokesman, allayed fears that SPC will not operate PDPP after March 26.


Tolentino said while there is no assurance from SPC, it is more logical for the firm to operate the plant so it can recoup its investments.


“SPC will lose more if it does not run PDPP,” Tolentino said over Bombo Radyo-Iloilo.


Tolentino also said that SPC must first seek the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission before it can jack up prices of electricity. 


Energy industry sources said SPC is hesitant to operate PDPP because of the price of electricity.


SPC will only run the plant if electric cooperatives agree to pay for the real cost of power which is more expensive than Napocor’s subsidized rates.  

July 2020

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