City to lose P24M from Asin operations-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
BAGUIO City is bent on looking for another partner who will buy power produced by the Asin mini-hydroelectric power plants.
This after Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco), the lone buyer of power produced by the city-owned Asin plants, stopped buying power last October 12 as the City Government failed to settle the prerequisites in power generation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).
Beneco said it was not able to secure an electric power purchase agreement with the City Government preventing them to buy electricity from the Asin plants.
The city and the power utility firm was not able to reach a compromise after the City Government maintained it is not required to follow the Epira because the hydropower plants existed before the enactment of the law.
However, Beneco through its general manager Gerardo Versoza, assured it will reconnect the Asin mini-hydro to their electric power supply system once the city complies with the Philippine Distribution Codes and has acquired certificates of compliance as a power generator from the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Versoza also said the City Government will have to put up its own distribution lines to sell power from the Asin plants through the Luzon power grid.
According to lawyer Carlos Canilao, city administrator, the city will lose at least P2 million per month or P24 million a year if it does not find a partner who will buy generated power.
Canilao also said that with this, some 34 contractual employees will be affected as operation is at a standstill.
However, he said the city is hanging on to the assurance from Beneco board which pledged to review its policies and decision of not purchasing power from the Asin plants.
Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Domogan instructed Canilao to ensure round the clock security in the power plants and maintain a skeletal force to continue manning the city-owned property and prevent it from further degenerating while it is not being used.
The city administrator said the city has at least three investors who expressed willingness in buying electricity from the plants.
“If they are going to be our partners then we will have to enter into a management contract with them and probably look at the possibility of having a long term upgrading of the plants in the future,” Canilao said.
Acting Mayor Daniel Fariñas, meanwhile, said city officials must study Beneco’s move and stressed the company should also support the local government.
“Ang hindi nila pagbili will affect our operations. I hope they will reconcile differences. Hindi pwede na independent sila sa decision making. We don’t want this to result into worse that is why we need to talk with them about this,” he said.
“Nobody should insist these suspicions of revenge as these are just rumors which should not blow out of proportion. This should be settled through honest negotiations,” he added.
The acting mayor pacified allegations Beneco pulled out in their purchase of electricity after it was barred by the Bids and Awards Committee from joining the bid for the privatization of the Asin plants.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 31, 2012.