BAGUIO CITY – The local government can earn as much as P1 per kilowatt-hour from the future operation of the Asin minihydro power plants once it will be managed by the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO).
BENECO general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa revealed that the cooperative will be submitting to the city in due time an unsolicited proposal for the takeover of the operation and maintenance of the Asin minihydro plants as it has the technical expertise and the financial capacity to rehabilitate the deteriorating facilities of the power plant for it to produce quality power for the consumers.
“The bottom line is the benefit that will accrue to the local government and the consumers once the resources that were infused for the eventual operation of the Asin power plants shall have been settled. The city will be earning at least one peso per kilowatt-hour aside from the fact that the plants will contribute in lowering the power rates being charged to the growing number of consumers because it will be a source of cheaper and quality renewable power,” Verzosa stressed.
He said that the disqualifications done by the city’s Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) for the privatization of the Asin hydro power plants a few years ago will not be a hindrance for the cooperative to submit its unsolicited proposal that will guarantee the eventual operation of the renewable energy plants that has been non-operational for nearly six years now resulting in substantial loss of income for the city government.
According to him, city residents will surely be inquiring on what has been done about the city-owned renewable energy plants from local officials that is why since the supposed investor seems to be not pursuing the project, BENECO wants to pursue its long standing offer to be a partner of the city in the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants so that the facilities will not be left unproductive forever.
In October 2012, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the local government to cease and desist from continuing the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants because the generation facilities were not issued the required certificate of compliance by the regulatory body pursuant to the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
Subsequently, the local government subjected the operation of the power plants to a series of public bidding but most of the same were failures of bidding while there were instances when BENECO was disqualified by the SBAC because it was not a cooperative registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
The SBAC awarded the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants to Kaltimex Energy Philippines but for over two years now, the company has prosecuted the project as it had been time and again requesting the possible renegotiation of the contract because of various issues that cropped up which were never raised during the bidding process.
However, the local government opted to confiscate the 30 percent performance bond posted by the developer for its failure to implement the project but the same remains uncertain to date.
By Dexter A. See