Acri remains keen on acquiring Agus-Pulangi hydropower plant

by Lenie Lectura – February 25, 2016

from Business Mirror

ALSONS Consolidated Resources Inc. (Acri) remains very much interested in the privatization of the 982-megawatt (MW) Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex, which could be sold by the government in 2017.

“The game changer would be Agus. That’s a big unknown as to when and how it will be privatized,” Acri Vice President for Project Development Joseph Nocos said. “Ultimately, if the government privatizes Agus, we will definitely bid for this.”

The Agus-Pulangi hydropower facility provides more than half of Mindanao’s current electricity capacity.

The hydro facility is scheduled for privatization in 2017, according to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM). However, the sale is being opposed by some Mindanao lawmakers and consumer groups who expressed fears that it could result in power rate hikes.

Under Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, PSALM is mandated to manage the privatization and maintenance of National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) power-generation assets, liabilities and contracted capacities.

Nocos said the Agus and Pulangi are interesting prospects since Acri aims to have a well-balanced power-ssgeneration mix. Acri targets to produce around 180 MW of power from hydro, between 20 to 30 MW of solar power, and 600 MW from conventional sources.

“If we win in the privatization of Agus-Pulangi that to us would complete our RE [renewable-energy] initiative. We will be similar to Napocor in the old days in which it was once in control of different types of power,” Nocos said.

The Aboitiz group is also interested to bid for the power asset.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) strongly opposed the privatization of Agus-Pulangi power complex, and said that this should be operated by the proposed Mindanao Power Corp. (MPC).

Rather, it urged Congress to pass a law that will allow Mindanao to manage and operate the crucial power facility in the region before the end of the Aquino administration.

“We remain consistent with what we have put forward in terms of pushing for the passage of a bill that will allow Mindanao Power Corp. to take over, manage and operate Agus and Pulangi,” MinDA Investment Promotions and Public Affairs Director Romeo Montenegro said. “Unfortunately, we have less than two months before the current Congress ends, so it’s possible it may be refiled in the next Congress.”

What should be done instead is to allow MPC take over the facility since this play a crucial role in providing cheap power supply to the region, Montenegro added.