Alsons Power still keen on bidding for hydro projects in Mindanao

By Lenie Lectura – January 31, 2017

from Business Mirror

THE Alsons Power Group is still very much interested to bid for the hydroelectric power plants along the Agus and Pulangi Rivers in Mindanao.

“We are waiting for the TOR [terms of reference]. I would say we are interested in such a big project,” said Tomas Alcantara, chairman of Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR).

The Agus complex has 727-megawatts (MW) installed capacity, while Pulangui’s capacity is at 255 MW. However, both facilities already have derated generation.

The power facility is owned by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the agency tasked to manage state-owned power assets and is operated by state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor).

The target is to privatize the asset within this year.

PSALM, according to its Officer in Charge Lourdes Alzona, is considering a number of options. These are “outright sale, it could just be the service component also, or corporatization.”

Alzona said the asset could be placed in a new government-run corporate entity, the proposed Mindanao Power Corp.

Earlier, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi directed PSALM to study the reallocation of the power facility’s output to “the poorest of the poor” in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) locations in Mindanao.

“I have written a letter to PSALM to study allocating the output of Agus-Pulangi to the poorest of the poor. That means to say the ARMM and the Lanao area and Maguindanao, so that we can help in the development of the area. The rest will be directed to the Peza so that we can encourage investments in Mindanao, so that we can compete against our neighbors for having cheaper electricity to offer to the manufacturing companies,” he said.

Electricity from the said power asset is being sold to various electric cooperatives (ECs).

“The contracts [with ECs] have expired. All ECs wanted to get longer contract, but what I said, at most we can give them one year to have transition, The intent of transition is to give time to ECs to make adjustment and for PSALM for the dispatch with NGCP [National Grid Corp. of the Philippines],” Cusi said.

If implemented, the target 2017 privatization would be delayed.

“That is now being studied,” Cusi said. “But let’s not mix objective and direction. The redirecting the allocation of Agus-Pulangi has nothing to do with privatization. It’s just now that we want to give benefits to the poorest of the poor and promote industries in the region.”