Meralco reviews PH Newton offer

By Jordeene Sheex Lagare – February 28, 2018
from The Manila Times

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is reviewing Pilipinas Newton Energy Corp.’s offer to provide solar energy to customers within its franchise area, officials of the country’s largest power distribution utility said.

Meralco said Pilipinas Newton’s P2.9887 per kilowatt hour (kWh) bid was still undergoing a price challenge, which will conclude by the end of February.

Pilipinas Newton is proposing to provide solar power from its 50-megawatt (MW) San Manuel 1 solar power project in the municipality of San Manuel, Pangasinan.

Should the company win the price challenge, the deal between Meralco and Pilipinas Newton will commence on December 31, or eight months after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) issues its approval, whichever comes later, according to Meralco’s invitation for price challenge.

Meralco Vice President and Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez told reporters in a chance interview that Pilipinas Newton’s proposal is undergoing a competitive selection process (CSP), which will end within the month.

The country’s largest distribution utility is also set to decide by end-February the power supply bids of Solar Philippines and First NatGas Power Corp.

Solar Philippines submitted a price challenge to First NatGas’ proposal to supply power from its 414-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel gas power plant at P3.7742 per kWh. Solar is offering to supply power to Meralco at P2.99 per kWh utilizing solar energy and battery storage.

Meanwhile, Fernandez said the ERC has yet to decide on Meralco’s three power supply agreements (PSAs) with different entities, namely a 50-MW supply deal with Solar Philippines Tanauan Corp. at P5.39 per kWh, a 50-MW supply deal from PowerSource First Bulacan Solar Inc. at P4.69 per kWh, and an 85-MW supply deal with Solar Philippines Tarlac Corp. (SPTC) at P2.99 per kWh.

Earlier this month, Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the listed power firm seeks to diversify its energy sources as part of its mandate.

“Part of our mandate is to source the least cost and we take that very seriously. On the other hand, we must also diversify the sources because if we are dependent on just a single source, then that’s not good,” he said.

Meralco reported an audited consolidated core net income of P20.2 billion in 2017. It holds the largest market capitalization among listed utility and power sector companies in the country.