Bipcor questions bidding process of power supply deal

THE Bantayan Island Power Corp. (Bipcor) slammed the Bantayan Island Electric Cooperative’s (Banelco) “hasty and irregular award of a 15-year, 15-megawatt power supply contract” and cited non-compliance with the Competitive Selection Process (CSP).

According to Fichte Peñaloza, director of Bipcor, the company is now in a legal battle as it questioned the bidding process.

“To our dismay, what transpired during the bidding process was an apparently systematic and coordinated effort to ease Bipcor out as Banelco’s sole power provider at all costs,” he said in a statement.

Peñaloza said the opening of bids was conducted on Sept. 20, 2019 with representatives of both bidders present.

Bipcor’s bid documents in the First Envelope were “all passed” except for the certification from the supplier of the diesel engine generator set which was “not notarized.”

Peñaloza said: “After our summary disqualification, Bipcor’s Second Envelope was being returned unopened but our representative, Mr. Reinerio J. Lastimoso, insisted on leaving the envelope in the Third Party Bids and Awards Committee’s (TPBAC) hands to safeguard the integrity of Bipcor’s financial offer while the notary issue was unresolved. The committee declined the custody but the financial offer remained properly sealed and TPBAC members signed off on its cover and seal.”

He added: “On Banelco’s hasty award to the other consortium, we maintain that there was gross violation of the rules governing the grant of PSA, the bidding protocols and the CSP as mandated by the Department of Energy (DOE). Our disqualification from the bidding due to a simple and minor defect in our document–which was not even listed in the Bidding Procedures–was absolutely without basis. Thus, it was highly anomalous and illegal for Banelco to arbitrarily proceed with the grant of the contract to Vivant.”

Compounding Bipcor’s problems with the trivial disqualification, moreover, was the CSP rule that any party protesting or contesting a decision of TPBAC must pay a non-refundable protest fee which shall be determined by TPBAC itself, and in this case it was set at P3.6 million.

Under that rule, resort to court action to fight for its rights and secure a competitive price for Banelco members-owners could only be had after Bipcor paid the substantial, non-refundable protest fee of P3.6 million.

Bipcor said: “We paid the price, otherwise consumers on the island could be denied cheaper electricity if the financial proposal of Bipcor was not opened. Still, Banelco denied our protest, refused to open our second envelope and issued last November its notice of award of the PSA to Vivant, prompting Bipcor to file before Mandaue RTC Br. 84 a Petition for Injunction with prayer for the issuance of a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction.”

However, Bipcor said it failed to secure the TRO after the judge denied its application a day prior to the deadline for submission by the parties of their respective memoranda–the last pleading supposedly required by the judge before resolving the TRO application. All rulings of the judge are now subject to appellate action by Bipcor.

Banelco said there was proper bidding in line with the law.

Banelco told SunStar Cebu: “There are two bidders, Vivant and Bipcor. The bidding or CSP was done in accordance with the Department of Energy CSP Circular No. 2018-002-003. And all proceedings of the CSP were reported to the National Electrification Administration and published in the Department of Energy website.”

The Isla Norte Energy Corp. (Inec), the partnership of Vivant Energy Corp. and Gigawatt Power Inc. in a statement to SunStar Cebu, said the firm complied with all the requirements and procedures under the CSP that the Banelco conducted in July 2019.

“As a result of the bid process, as well as being fully compliant with all requirements set forth by the TPBAC–the requirements of which were made public in the tender and accessible to all possible bidders—Inec was issued in October 2019 a Notice of Award to supply power to Banelco,” the company said.

It added that Inec will build a 23.31-megawatt diesel-fired power plant that is set to be completed in 2021 to provide the best possible energy solution for the people of Bantayan Island. (JOB)


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