Residents, officials protest repair of Salcon Power Plant

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Thursday, June 26, 2014


ABOUT a hundred residents from the 28 barangays of the City of Naga, Cebu, gathered in front of the Salcon Power Plant to oppose plans to rehabilitate it.

At 8:30 a.m. yesterday, residents, accompanied by barangay and city officials, conducted a peaceful 30-minute rally in front of the power plant in Barangay Colon.

The rally was conducted after residents received reports that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) issued a notice of award to Therma Power Visayas Inc. (TPVI) last April 2014 as the highest bidder to develop the 34-year-old facility. TPVI is owned by the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

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But Salcon Power Corp. (SPC), which now manages the plant, chose to counter the winning bidder’s offer of P1.088 billion by paying P1.143 billion to PSALM through an account within the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Counter-bid

SPC exercised its right to counter the winning bidder’s offer based on Section 3.02 of its Land Lease Agreement with PSALM for the 55 MW plant back in 2009.

But SPC’s act to top was opposed by Sen. Serge Osmena III, who brought his case before the Supreme Court earlier this month.

Osmena asked the SC to declare SPC’s right to top void and issue a permanent injunction to enjoin PSALM from committing any act that will exercise SPC’s right to top.

After hearing the report, the barangay councils of Tangke, Colon and Tuyan filed their resolutions opposing SPC’s move to rehabilitate the plant.

Luzminda Lapitan, Barangay Colon chief, told reporters yesterday that they are opposing the rehabilitation because the plant has undergone rehab so many times, but problems, such as pollution, persist.

“I’m asking the President (Benigno) Aquino to construct a new power plant. We will no longer allow to have the plant rehabilitated because it will only cause discomfort to the residents here,” Lapitan said.

Lapitan said they saw many efforts to maintain the power plant, but instead of addressing pollution, they made it worse.

Effects

Naga City Val Chiong Chiong, in a separate interview, said he fears that if the plant will just rehabilitate its equipment, negative effects, such as black emissions from the plant, will never go away.

He said he is one with the residents in opposing the rehabilitation because the plant has been in operation since 1980 and only has a 25-year life and is losing efficiency every year.

“While we support having the plant in Naga, we want some change of management as well. Dili na mi mosugot nga ayum-ayumun na lang (We can’t allow small measures),” Chiong said.

Statement soon

In a separate interview, Placido Jandoc, plant manager of the SPC Power Plant in Naga, says their top officials will issue a statement on the issue this week.

But Jandoc said there is a need to rehabilitate the two thermal plants in Naga because they are currently experiencing deterioration.

He said that since the national government owns the plant, it will be up to them whether to have it leased to another private company or have it rehabilitated.

Jandoc said that, for now, they have two thermal power plants that are in need of rehabilitation. These are the 14 megawatt (MW) coal fired thermal plant and the 30 MW thermal plant.

But he admitted that even if the plant is rehabilitated, they will not be efficient enough to compete with other power facilities.

Rehabilitation, once approved, will allow the plant to shut down for a year. But if they build a new plant, it will take three to five years. JKV

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2014.

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