Devanadera inhibits on PSA decision for Atimonan plant

By Myrna M. Velasco – June 12, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

Having been a legal consultant at the pre-development phase of the project, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera forthrightly told media that she will inhibit in the deliberation and in the decision process for the power supply agreement (PSA) of the US$3.0 billion Atimonan One Energy (A1E) coal-fired power project.

The proposed Atimonan facility is one of the major plant developments of Meralco PowerGen, the power generation investment arm of Manila Electric Company. So far, it is the first cast on blueprint to be equipped with the cutting-edge ultra super critical (USC) technology.

Devanadera said “I had to inhibit (in the PSA decision) for the Atimonan plant,” explaining that “I used to have my legal consultancy in the project.”

She expounded “I never knew at that time that I will be in this position, so when I looked at the pending PSA cases, I was surprised that it’s still there.”

With the ERC chief restraining herself in the PSA decision process, she noted that it will even be more difficult to predict when the supply deals of Meralco will secure approvals.

Beyond that dilemma, two Commissioners – Alfredo J. Non and Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc will be retiring on July 10, and it may take time for their replacements to review all of the pending cases that will be lodged to them for action.

The propounded 1,2000-megawatt Atimonan power plant is a shovel-ready project, with financial closing and award of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract just waiting in the wings.

Given the very delayed implementation of the project and all the controversies hounding it – along with all the other proposed facilities with PSAs underwritten by Meralco, the project developer is getting ‘extremely pained’ that it cannot see its planned facilities see the light of day.

The Atimonan plant has also been applied for its certification as “energy project of national significance”, but Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted that he will just sign it if the project proponent undertakes Swiss challenge on its supply deal.

Another project of the utility firm’s subsidiary that is now ready to advance into construction phase is the 600MW Redondo Peninsula Energy (RP Energy) coal-fired power project in Subic.

The latest pronouncement from Meralco PowerGen has been the intent to have its configuration shifted into a single unit of 600MW with the same ultra super critical technology instead of the original design of having two units at 300MW capacity each.