THE technical working group of the Asin Hydros Ad Hoc Management Committee is fast-tracking the release of the terms of reference (TOR) for the contract to rehabilitate and manage the Asin mini hydroelectric plants.

Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. said the group is exercising caution in finalizing the TOR to ensure that the interest of the City Government and other stakeholders will be fully protected.

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The finalization is in line with the plan of tapping a financially and technically capable private company following the privatization policy approved through a city council resolution last week.

In setting the privatization scheme, the city council gave the group headed by former city administrator Peter Fianza, 15 days from the approval of the resolution to submit the terms of reference for the conduct of an open and competitive public bidding for the management, operation and rehabilitation of the plants.

In a meeting, the technical working group discussed the possibility of the city opting for a Rehabilitate, Operate and Maintain and Manage (ROMM) type of contract.

ROMM is deemed as a “time-tested scheme” to meet the city’s conditions of having the facilities developed by a private firm that can infuse the much-need capital, expertise and managerial experience without the use of city funds. The city can even earn guaranteed royalties or concession fees while still maintaining ownership of the facilities.

The body also discussed the possible qualification standards for the potential investor. 

Initial qualifications are: the investors must have the financial capacity and technical expertise to rehabilitate, repair, refurbish, replace and improve the facilities and equipment required to improve performance of Asin plants from the present 3,850 kilowatt (KW) to as much as 4,600 KW.

The other proposed terms raised the responsibilities of the investors, which include the payment of right-of-way fees due to the landowners of properties where the structures of the Asin Hydro plants are located.

The group also discussed the possible terms covering the city’s responsibility under the ROMM contract.

Other topics discussed were on the rehabilitation and ownership of the plants, full use of the facilities, contract period, the share of the City Government in the power generation of the plants and the bidder’s qualifications.

The group expressed hopes that the TOR will be finalized before the deadline given by the city council to fast-track the privatization venture. (Aileen P. Refuerzo)