Letter to the Editor-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
THE Sun.Star-Baguio is the only local daily paper in the Cordilleras. In this regard may I make a comment on the opinion of Atty. Delmar O. Cariño in his “Recloser” column entitled Bidding Blues for Asin which appeared in the June 20, 2012 issue of your paper – Sun.Star. I am not a member of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) of the City but may I be given the chance to express my opinion on the Terms of Reference (TOR) on the bidding of the Asin Hydroelectric for the enlightenment of some.
First, bidding is not an art in any legitimate bidding. The one appearing to be competitive in cost may not always be the best. Equally important is the track record of any bidder. This is to ward nuisance bidders who try to offer a bid that is too good to be true, but may not deliver when the bid is awarded to them. The intention usually of these kinds of bidders is to spoil the bidding because they can’t win in a competitive bidding.
Where will a non-stock, non-profit and inexperienced in hydro generation cooperative gets [sic] its millions of pesos to operate the Asin Hydro plant? For sure, BENECO will be looking for a technically and financially capable partner to meet its offer for this Asin project. Remember BENECO’s experience is in “distribution service” and not in “generation” and further it has been reporting a net loss. Perhaps SBAC wishes that only direct bidders shall join to eliminate another layer of negotiator or middleman. It is better that BENECO advice its partner if there is any to bid directly.
Second, a CDA registration will not add technical competence to a proponent electric cooperative. However, CDA registration ensures a cooperative to be transparent in its transactions and be compliant to the regulatory orders and guidelines as well as to its own by-laws. The City is just protecting its assets so it will not fall into the hands of pseudo cooperatives whose hundreds of millions of peso losses is nothing to worry about because it is just an accounting mismatch as claimed.
To raise the issue of right of first refusal holds no water, because BENECO did not raise this during the bidding of Ambuklao and Binga, which are similarly situated in its franchise area.
Almost three years ago, BENECO announced they had identified and will put up mini hydro electric plants in Man-asok, Buguias as pilot project. This according to them is to give consumer a reduced electricity fee. Few months passed, another company started a similar project in Irisan. Today the hydro project in Irisan is already operational and generating electricity. Can we now as BENECO, how much consumers’ money was spent and when do we have cheaper electricity from this pilot hydro electric plant?
The dream to generate electricity is good for the members especially if the electric cooperative registers with the CDA so that consumers shall really own the hydro electric plant. But for now as the situation shows the distribution utility should improve the lines to have a more reliable power during rainy season.
Federico Balanag Sr.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 09, 2012.