Amreco nixes sale of NPC HE plants

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Thursday, May 5, 2011


THIRTY-three electric cooperatives, under the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. (Amreco), are opposing the impending privatization of the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants.

Amreco executive director Clint Pacana said the consuming public must be consulted first before the sale of hydroelectric plants since they would eventually suffer the consequences of costly electricity.

Pacana said Amreco will take active part in a public hearing that will be conducted by the Joint Congressional Power Commission at the Pryce Plaza Hotel on May 13.

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Representative Henedina R. Abad, the chairperson of the House Energy Committee, will preside the hearing.

Also expected to attend the joint congressional hearing are Senator Francis Escudero, Cagayan de Oro City first district Representative Rufus Rodriguez and other lawmakers from Mindanao.

The Amreco executive director said all the 33 electric cooperatives in Mindanao believe that rates of electricity in Mindanao grid will increase, more than that of Luzon and Visayas once the operations of Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants are privatized.

The Agus hydroelectric plant complex is located in Lanao del Norte while the Pulangi hydroelectric facility is in Maramag, Bukidnon.

He, however, admitted that on June 11, 2011, it will be 10 years since the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), which provides for the privatization of power generation and transmission.

The Epira law provides that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) would consult the stakeholders in the electric power industry prior to privatization moves.

The Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants are under the management of Psalm and National Power Corporation.

At present, hydro-based generated electricity in Mindanao comprise about 50 percent of total generation in Mindanao, complemented by electricity from various diesel-operated power barges, coal-fired generated power and geothermal plants.

Pacana argued that the cost of electricity has direct impact on investments, particularly those large companies that are considering Mindanao for expansion plans.

Until today, every kilowatt-hour of electricity that is being generated from hydroelectric plants by state-owned National Power Corporation costs only P1.

Additional cost comes from transmission and distribution charges of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and the electric cooperatives and utilities.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 06, 2011.

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