San Miguel-PSALM row worries Energy

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 08, 2015 at 11:40 pm

from Manila Standard

The Energy Department has expressed concern over the ongoing dispute between Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and conglomerate San Miguel Corp. as the administrator of the contracts of two power plants with a combined capacity of 2,400 megawatts.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada told reporters the agency would to sit down with the Finance Department to discuss San Miguel’s unresolved issues with PSALM.

“We are concerned about this because PSALM is government-[owned]. Was there any lapse on its part? The chairman of PSALM is [the finance secretary] so we will sit down with them,” Monsada said.

Monsada sits in the PSALM board as vice chairman. PSALM manages the assets and liabilities of National Power Corp. as directed by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

PSALM is embroiled over a dispute with San Miguel for not turning over generation payments from the 1,200-MW Ilijan combined cycle power plant. The case is now pending with the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong.

San Miguel earlier has asked to Justice Department to prosecute PSALM president Lourdes Alzona for plunder in connection with the alleged P14-billion loss over a 2009 contract with an independent power producer for the Sual Power Plant in Pangasinan.

San Miguel accused Alzona of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Also included in the complaint were Team Philippines Energy Corp. president Suguru Tsuzaki and Team Sual Corp. executive vice president Kochi Tamura.

San Miguel won the contract to administer the output of the Ilijan and Sual power plants in Batangas province.

Monsada said the conflicting schedule between Finance and Energy officials had delayed talks on PSALM’s dispute with San Miguel.

“DoF is asking to sit down but the problem is the conflicting schedule,” she said.

San Miguel alleged it was not able to get a net contracted capacity of 500 MW per unit for the Sual coal plant because Team Energy’s 100-MW nominal capacity was given priority following a 2009 agreement on excess capacity.

San Miguel said TeaM Energy illegally benefited from the excess capacity to the detriment of the Philippine government and San Miguel.

PSALM, meanwhile, terminated its agreement with San Miguel for alleged non-payment of certain generation payments. San Miguel went to the Mandaluyong court and obtain an injunction.