BAGUIO CITY – The winning developer of the rehabilitation and operation of the city-owned Asin mini hydropower plants requested the local government for an extension of time to complete its studies relative to the eventual operation of the renewable energy plants.
In his letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Kaltimex Energy Philippines Senior Advisor Rodrigo E. Cabrera requested the city to grant them an additional 3 months, or up to March 2018, for the submission of their proposals on how to implement the project and that the company shall update the local government of any significant developments as it navigates through the untangling the many issues surrounding the project, many allegedly beyond the developer’s control, especially on the side of the energy department.
Earlier, the company engaged the services of a specialist engineering company in compliance with their previous commitment and essentially all electrical equipment in the three plants, turbines and everything else barely passed standard basic testing protocol, therefore the equipment could already be considered junk.
He added all circuit breakers have to be replaced to comply with the Philippine Grid Code, which specifies the minimum technical design and operational criteria and the procedures to be complied with by any user who is connected or seeking connection to the national grid. Over and above that, the existing transmission line shall be replaced to comply with the provisions of the Philippine Distribution Code, which specifies the minimum technical, design and operational criteria for that purpose.
He emphasized any rehabilitation works for plant 1 and plant 2 are out of the question, contrary to the provisions of the terms of reference in the public bid notice.
On permits, Cabrera claimed the operations contract, which expires May 2018, is still in the name of the Aboitiz-owned Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR). The energy department has not made any move to settle the said issue despite their follow-ups with their legal staff. The company is bereft of any legal personality to enter the scene and utilize the operations contract until the account has been effectively transferred to the city. Being the mother contract, Kaltimex cannot initiate any move to process the service contract, including the water permit transfer.
According to him, Kaltimex was admonished by Director Mario Marasigan when company officials consulted with him regarding the matter on the supposed service contract.
The Kaltimex official learned the city has concluded the survey of the metes and bounds of the land where the hydropower facilities are located, however, payments have not yet been effected to rightful owners which resulted to the denial of their application for a business permit with the Tuba municipal government.
With the equipment testing done, Cabrera insinuated the company shall proceed to wind up the joint inspection together with city representatives by December 15, 2017 and the inspection report submitted to the City Mayor a month later.
Earlier, Kaltimex proposed it be given until this month to submit its findings and recommendations regarding the possible operation of the city-owned Asin mini hydropower plants to guarantee added income for the local government.
By Dexter A. See