BAKUN, Benguet – The energy department advised the Aboitiz-owned HEDCOR, Inc. to continue operating its three minihydro power plants amidst a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) issued by the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) for the company to stop its operations in the locality.
In a letter dated June 25, 2021, the energy department reminded the company to continue operating its FLS, Lower Labay and Lon-oy hydro plants for the greater interest of the people primarily because of the current threats of the scarcity of the supply of power.
In the said letter, DOE underscored its mandate pursuant to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 “to ensure the quality, reliability, security, and affordability of the supply of electric power especially during this period of health pandemic.”
As such, DOE advised Hedcor to continue operating the Lower Labay, Lon-oy, and FLS hydropower plants given the “shortage of available capacity from the grid caused by the unavailability of large power plants as well as deleted operation of operating power plants aside from the high system peak demand due to high ambient temperature.”
The DOE likewise reiterated its advisory dated 02 March 2021 entitled, “Ensuring Reliable and Stable Electric Power Supply during the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Program” enjoining all Generation Companies, including Government-owned and Controlled Corporations and private sector-operated and/or owned generation facilities to ensure availability of power supply at the maximum dependable capacities of respective generation facilities and provide the necessary support for COVID-19 vaccine cold storage and healthcare facilities, as well as installing backup power supply, as needed.
Furthermore, DOE pointed out that as the Energy Regulation 1-94 (ER 1-94) funds are dependent on the kWh generated by power plants, stoppage of operation of power facilities will affect the mobilization of the said funds for COVID-19 response.
“We recognize the concerns of our Bakun IP community and our doors remain open for dialogue. We believe that the tongtongan is crucial to the resolution of this issue, not only to protect the welfare of our IPs/ICCs, but also to fulfill our contribution to ensuring the availability and reliability of power supply for the country,” said Noreen Vicencio, Hedcor’s Vice President for Corporate Services.
Hedcor is ready and willing to sit in a tongtongan with the Bakun IPs at the soonest possible time to address issues and concerns and to realize a way forward that sustains the gains and strengthens the relationship carefully built over the past three decades.
Last June 7, 2021, the NCIP-CAR issued a notice of violation to HEDCOR for the company to stop operating its 3 minihydro power plants in the municipality after the Bakun Indigenous Tribes Organization (BITO) issued a resolution of no consent against the operation of the company’s power plants.
On June 22, 2021, the NCIP-CAR issued a CDO for the company to already stop the operation of the 3 minihydro power plants where the same will take effect within 5 days upon receipt of the said order. By HENT