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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

IT’S not good enough.

 

This was the reaction of an electric cooperative executive to the decision to let SPC Power Corp. operate Panay Diesel Power Plant (PDPP) in Dingle, Iloilo with subsidy from the government.

 

Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager, said the problem brought about by the privatization of PDPP brings to fore the need to put up a baseload power plant in Panay.

 

Malacañang decided Wednesday to continue with the turnover of PDDP to SPC March 26.

 

SPC will own the plant and sell power to the three electric cooperatives in Iloilo provided the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) will subsidize the Singaporean firm’s operations, a mockery of the government’s privatization thrust.

 

Napocor will provide fuel to PDPP to keep it running and provide power to the cooperatives.

 

The new arrangement will allow electric cooperatives to enjoy the same subsidized rate of P2.80 per kilowatt-hour which Napocor is currently offering.

 

Psalm and Napocor sold PDPP along with the Bohol Diesel Power Plant to SPC for more than US$5 million.

 

The privatization of the plant raised public concerns that it will stop running because of rehabilitation works and the issue on the real cost of power.

 

“We cannot continue like this. We have to have our own power plant in Panay so we will not scrounge for sources when we lose capacities in the grid. This the reason why we continue to contract power from independent power producers to secure our future energy needs,” Billena said.

 

Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Ileco-2 director, said Napocor has no choice but to join in the said arrangement with SPC because the state-owned power firm has contractual obligations with the electric cooperatives in Panay.

 

Ventilacion also stressed on the need to put up new baseload plants to prevent the same problems that cropped up with PDPP’s privatization.

 

“This is the reason why the infrastructure development committee of the Regional Development Council called for the immediate construction of new power plants but from the looks of it, these projects will not be online by January 2011,” Ventilacion said.

 

Even the Visayas Supply Augmentation Auction (VSAA) program mulled by the Department of Energy to arrest the acute power shortage in Panay is also a temporary solution to the problem.

 

Billena said there is a need to improve the capacity of the submarine cable between Negros and Panay Islands to make VSAA more effective.

 

VSAA aims to tap embedded power generators in Visayas and excess capacities of power plants in Visayas.

 

“We have constraints in the submarine cable and uprating is needed to ensure stable supply. And Panay would still be at the mercy of other power producers as regards the price and stability. These plants will have to decide between making money and maintaining the backup for their franchise areas,” Billena said.

 

Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) and DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) are proposing two coal-fired power plants in Panay.

 

GBPC, which belongs to the Metrobank Group, has begun earthworks at its plant site in Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz, Iloilo City. GBPC operates Panay Power Corp., the sole power distributor in Iloilo City. DMCI has yet to begin construction of its plant in Concepcion, Iloilo because of uncertainty over its potential market.

July 2020
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