Wednesday, December 21, 2011

South Cotabato, power firm reach deal on unpaid taxes

By Allen V. Estabillo | Wednesday| December 21, 2011

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 December) – Power distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) is set to sign an agreement with the provincial government of South Cotabato to facilitate the settlement of its unpaid real property taxes that already piled up to P41.27 million.
South Cotabato board member Ervin Luntao, chair of the provincial board’s ways and means committee, said the Socoteco I management has finally agreed to pay its entire pending tax obligations to the local government through a compromise deal.
Citing a letter from Socoteco I, he said the distribution utility signified to settle its entire real property tax arrearages of P41,271,295 within 60 to 90 days as part of the proposed agreement.
“The details of the compromise agreement are still being ironed out by our legal department but it will include some measures that will ensure the prompt payment of its future tax obligations,” Luntao said in a media forum in Koronadal City.
He said they expect the Provincial Legal Office to finalize the provisions of the proposed deal in time for the scheduled special session of the provincial board on December 27.
The official said his committee will work for the approval and endorsement of the draft deal for signing by early next month.
“We want this settled as soon as possible to expedite the one-time payment of Socoteco I’s arrearages within the first quarter of 2012,” he said.
Luntao noted that the settlement of Socoteco’s unpaid tax obligations will practically offset the P36-million cut on the province’s Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA share from the national government for next year.
The IRA of local government units represents 40 percent of the national internal revenue taxes collected in the third fiscal year before the current fiscal year.
The IRA sources are income tax, estate and donors’ tax, value-added tax, other percentage taxes, excise taxes, documentary stamp taxes, and such other taxes that may be imposed and collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The provincial government has set some “belt-tightening” measures for next year following an official notice from the Department of Budget and Management that the province will only receive an IRA share of P751 million for 2012 or down by P36 million from this year’s P787.8-million allotment.
As a result, Provincial Treasurer Elvira Rafael said the local government decided to cut on its maintenance and other operating expenses next year, specifically provisions for office supplies, gasoline, oil and lubricants, electricity and water consumptions, among others. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DOE inks add'l hydropower contracts

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) Updated December 20, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved an additional 1,000 megawatts (MW) of hydropower contracts, indicating its keen interest to continue to promote renewable energy (RE) resources, the country’s top energy official said.

“Over the past few months, we continue to release and sign contracts in areas where it really works,” Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.

According to Almendras, the signing of more RE contracts particularly in hydropower projects, showed that the government, despite challenges, remains keen on developing RE.

He said they expect to sign more contracts amid controversies related to the tariff issues.

“Now, renewable energy is still a controversy of sorts, (but) I’ m not in control of the feed-in tariff. As much as I want to, there is an appropriate institution and process for that,” he said.

Based on the RE contracts, there are 124 hydropower projects of which 99 are in the pre-development stages and eight are already in development stages. There are already 17 existing hydropower projects in the country.

The DOE data showed that there would be a potential capacity of 281.97 MW of hydropower projects.

Under the Power Development Program, the country would need additional RE development projects to help meet the additional power capacity in the long-term.

For 2010-2030, the Luzon grid would need some 11,900 MW of additional power, of which only 600 MW is committed and 3,448 MW is indicative.

In the 20-year period under the PDP, some 2,150 MW in new capacity is needed for the Visayas grid. Of this, 654 MW is already committed and 186 MW is indicative.

For Mindanao, the island would need some 2,500 MW in additional capacity for the period 2010-2030, of which only 100 MW has been committed and 581 MW in indicative projects.

Teeners who robbed Quezon power plant nabbed

By Michelle Zoleta The Philippine Star Updated December 20, 2011 12:00 AM

PAGBILAO, Quezon ,Philippines – Police arrested at least six persons, five of them teenagers, who robbed a power plant in Sitio Bakawan, Barangay Ibabang Polo at dawn yesterday.

PO2 Frederick Elardo and PO2 Nathaniel Romaraog, identified some of the suspects as Rhapfe Tupas, 18; Sison Portes, 18; and Redante Marangga, 21. Three others are 16-year-olds. Two other suspects identified as Keneth Satore, 18; and a 16-year-old are at large.

A police report said the suspects barged into Team Energy Power Plant Corp. at around 12:15 a.m. and stole 25 pieces of assorted metal scrap valued at about P4,000.

Renewable energy program on track

Published : Tuesday, December 20, 2011 00:00 
Written by : Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo, Reporter

The Department of Energy (DOE) said the government’s renewable energy program is on track.
Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the department has signed over a thousand megawatts worth of contracts for hydropower projects alone.
“The problem before the DOE just kept on releasing/issuing service contracts without fixing the peripheral issues. But now we’re trying to make sure that if you have a service contract, the chance of you getting that project off the ground really moves,” he said.

The energy chief did not specify the measures adopted to ensure the viability of projects, after the department placed all energy contracts under review upon the start of the Aquino administration.

The move was meant to “level the playing field” in the sector as well as to make sure there were no overlapping claims or other issues that could hamper the development of energy sources.

“We have the solutions and implemented the solutions. We’ve tested it and it works. So now it’s just implementing it and we can expect it will continue,” Almendras said.

Based on the DOE’s renewable energy registration and accreditation report, there were 406 renewable energy projects pending before the department as of November.

These projects—more than two-thirds of which are hydroelectric plants—have a potential power generating capacity of over 6,000 megawatts.

The contracts pending before the DOE are on top of those approved since the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which was crafted to spur the development of such projects.

The DOE has awarded 236 projects with a potential power generating capacity of 2,800 megawatts once they are completed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mindanao power transmission grid not affected by ‘Sendong’

By Bong S. Sarmiento | Tuesday| December 20, 2011

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 December) – The power transmission grid in Mindanao remained intact in the aftermath of tropical storm “Sendong” (international name “Washi), which killed hundreds and devastated the northern part of the island, the grid’s operator said on Monday.
In an advisory, Milfrance Capulong, National Grid Corp of the Philippines-Mindanao corporate communications officer, said that major transmission lines of NGCP remained operational after Sendong battered Northern Mindanao.
“The major power transmission lines of NGCP (i.e. backbone lines of the power grid in Mindanao) have not been affected,” she said.
The storm made a landfall in Hinatuan, Surigao del Norte Friday afternoon, said the NGCP, the private operator of the country’s power transmission network.
On Saturday, there were two momentary faults, but these were immediately restored, the firm said.
NGCP remained in close communication with distribution utilities in Cagayan de Oro City and Bislig City to expedite and assist in restoration efforts, it noted.
Sendong’s wrath tremendously affected the Northern Mindanao cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, causing flashfloods that swept houses, and landslides in other areas as well.
As of 6 a.m. Monday (December 19), the death toll has climbed to 533, said Benito T. Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
He added that 309 persons remained missing, while 432 others have been rescued.
Sixty percent of power in Cagayan de Oro City was restored as of 5:17 Sunday,
Ramos said, adding that power interruptions also occurred in the cities of Iligan, Valencia and Ozamiz.
In Northern Mindanao, 85,601 individuals or 14,627 families in 88 villages were affected, the NDRRMC reported.
Meanwhile, calls to help the victims of typhoon Sendong have been gaining ground in Southwestern Mindanao from the public and private sectors.
In Cotabato City, the Oblate Missionary Foundation asked that cash, foods, clothes, bottled waters, books and other donations can be dropped at the Oblate Media Center at Sinsuat Avenue.
In Sarangani, Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez said the province will be sending P500,000 worth of rice to the victims of the floods in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
He also appealed to those who want to help donate blankets, used clothes, toothbrushes and others to drop them at the provincial capitol gymnasium in Alabel town until Wednesday noon.
Dominguez said that courier company Fast Cargo has volunteered to transport the donations for free.
In a related development, the Japanese government, through Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, on Sunday expressed sympathies to the many lives lost and serious damage caused by Sendong.
In a statement, the official said that Japan will “spare no effort in providing necessary assistance and cooperation for the rehabilitation of the affected people and areas.” (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

DOE had not stopped RE service contracts approval, says Almendras

Business Mirror

THE Department of Energy (DOE) continues to approve and release renewable-energy (RE) service contracts following the adoption of a new set of terms that will help ensure the delivery of commitments by project proponents.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras dispelled rumors that the DOE had stopped issuing service contracts, stressing that the energy department had signed and approved over a thousand megawatts of hydropower and mini-hydropower plant projects in the past few months in areas “where it really works.”

He noted that in the past, the DOE released and issued service contracts without fixing the peripheral issues. This time, however, Almendras said the department, under his stewardship, would like to make sure that a project covering a particular service contract would get off the ground and be operationally viable.

“We know we have a lot of problems or challenges but we have the solutions and implemented [these] solutions. We’ve tested it and it works, so now it’s just [matter of] implementing it and we can expect it will continue,” he stressed.

As of July 4, 2011, a DOE report showed that 236 contracts have been awarded to RE developers, which have the potential to generate 2,822.97 MW of electricity.

Some 164 of the 236 contracts are currently on predevelopment stages, while 72 are on development stages.

On a per technology basis, the DOE said it has awarded a total of 124 contracts for hydropower, 3 for ocean energy, 21 for geothermal, 46 for wind, 2 for solar and 40 for biomass.

The energy department also said it has yet to award or approve 384 pending RE project applications.

The DOE said 191 of the 384 pending applications involve hydropower projects, 70 for solar, 59 for wind, 28 for biomass, 21 for ocean energy, and 15 for geothermal projects and have a potential combined capacity of 6,046.45 MW of electricity.

The biggest projects per technology resource are Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corp.’s 600-MW project in Apayao hydropower project; Coastal Power Development Corp.’s 420-MW wind power project in Sorsogon; Jobin-Sqm Inc.’s 100-MW solar power project in Zambales; Eoil and Gas Co. Inc.’s 60-MW geothermal power project in South Cotabato; and, Green Power Bukidnon Philippines Inc.’s 35-MW biomass power plant project in Bukidnon.

Investors eye 2 power generation projects in Butuan

The Philippine Star Updated December 19, 2011 12:00 AM

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Two Japanese companies are set to invest in power generation projects in this city, Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. said.

Amante said EJ Holdings Inc. has expressed interest in putting up a waste-to-energy project through the operation of a sanitary landfill in Dumalagan town.

The company has already applied for a loan with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to fund a feasibility study for the landfill operation. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with the city government for the conduct of the study.

The Chodai Group, on the other hand, would like to put up a hydropower project in the province. It conducted ocular inspections here and is set to discuss and perform additional feasibility studies.

Power generation projects are among the 11 priority Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects presented by Amante to potential investors during a recent investment trip to Japan.

The PPP projects include corporate farming and agro-forestry with farm-to-market roads as support infrastructure; development of the Masao Container Port, airport and waterways; and water system and renewable energy development.

Other projects are human resources and tourism development, housing, completion of the south market or integrated business center, drainage development and major rehabilitation of roads and bridges, solid waste management, organic food production, and upgrading of the Butuan Medical Center.

Last month, a Japanese PPP research center reported that Butuan City is ideal for PPP investment opportunities in agriculture and renewable energy.

The report contained observations in the fields of agriculture, recycling, renewable energy, economic enterprise and tourism.

Recommendations included the mechanization of the agriculture industry, the conversion of waste to energy, and the use of wood pellets as biomass fuel.

Bokod to get P61.2 million in taxes for Ambuklao

By Artemio Dumlao The Philippine Star Updated December 19, 2011 12:00 AM

BOKOD, Benguet, Philippines – This town is getting P61.2 million in property taxes from the SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet (SNAP-Benguet) as part of an advance payment for the rehabilitated Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant.

SNAP-Benguet president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Rubio turned over a ceremonial check for P61,260,311.52 due in 2012 to Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan at the provincial capitol in La Trinidad last Thursday.

Fongwan cited SNAP-Benguet “for setting a good example in paying the real property tax of Ambuklao in advance so that the local governments benefit early from the re-operation of Ambuklao.”

SNAP-Benguet took over the 105-megawatt Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant along with the 100-MW Binga hydroelectric power plant in 2008 following a successful bid for the two plants for $325 million through the government’s power sector privatization program.

That same year, it set to work in rehabilitating and upgrading the then decommissioned Ambuklao plant, which came back on-line in June this year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NGCP says power grid intact

Business Mirror

POWER lines concessionaire National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said on Saturday it remained operational even as Typhoon Sendong battered Mindanao.

Sources said that as of Saturday night, only one 69-kilovolt line was out. The line is maintained and operated by the Caga­yan Electric Power and Light Co. (Cepalco). Most of Cepalco’s line in its franchise area were restored as of Saturday noon.

The NGCP said necessary preparations and precautions have been implemented to minimize the impact of the storm on NGCP operation and facilities.

It said the measures included ensuring the availability of hardware and supplies needed for the repair of damages to facilities, as well as the positioning of line crews in strategic areas to facilitate immediate restoration work.

As of Saturday morning, NGCP said, the major power transmission lines in Mindanao were found not to have been affected.

It said there were two “momentary” faults, but that these were immediately restored.

The NGCP said it remained in close communication with distribution utilities in Cagayan de Oro City and Bislig City to expedite and assist in restoration efforts.

It said aerial patrol and inspection of lines in the affected areas went in full swing as soon as the weather allowed.

Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda on Sunday renewed her call for heightened flood-disaster prevention and management in all communities all over the country as she expressed alarm over Sendong’s death toll.

“We deeply commiserate with the victims of Typhoon Sendong. The fact that it is already Christmas next week makes it harder to witness the miserable situation—lives taken away and families displaced by ravaging flashfloods,” Legarda said.

“The devastating flashfloods said to be the worst in the history of Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City reveal the increasing severity of typhoons that we must be prepared for. The lack of capacity of communities to be prepared for worst-case scenarios must be urgently addressed,” she said, noting the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council statement that many residents refused to leave their homes.

Legarda alerted local government units to improve flood- mitigation measures amid worsening extreme weather events.

“LGUs affected by Typhoon Sendong should immediately assess the causes and effects of the massive flooding that occurred and make recommendations to improve flood mitigation and management before another typhoon hits their area,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday distributed relief goods to victims of flash floods caused by Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City.

Binay flew to Cagayan de Oro early Sunday morning and distributed 2,880 bags of relief goods to Kagay-anons staying at the evacuation centers at the Macasandig City Central Elementary School and West City Elementary School.

The Vice President pledged to give 10,000 relief goods in Cagayan de Oro and 5,000 in Iligan City. He also directed the Office of the Vice President to hold relief operations in Iligan.

He also went to funeral homes where many of the victims were taken, and extended cash assistance and his condolences to families that lost their loved ones in the flood.

Binay discussed with local officials of CDO the possible relocation of residents living along rivers and coastal areas.

(Paul Anthony A. Isla)

DOE to complete P1.3-B rural electrification by year-end

Business Mirror

THE Department of Energy (DOE) is confident it would meet its rural electrification target by providing access to 1,420 sitios before the end of the year, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told reporters.
The energy chief said in an interview that the project entails an investment of P1.3 billion, the highest disbursement made on rural electrification.

“We started this project in October. This project does not use solar home systems. Households will be connected to grid and to the Small Power Utilities Group (Spug) of the National Power Corp. (Napocor). As of Wednesday, I’m very happy that indications show we’re going to make it year-end,” he said.

Almendras said that the money was sourced from the savings the DOE had last year.

He said the project brings the government close to its target of reaching 90-percent household electrification by 2017.

To date, according to Almendras, household electrification stands at around 72 percent to 75 percent, which they want to escalate to 90 percent by 2017. He said rural electrification is aligned with the government’s thrust of investing in the rural areas.

“It’s peripheral economics. We want to push the money in the most rural, remote areas of the regions because if you talk inclusive growth, we need to provide the infrastructure in a geographically disadvantaged area, which includes those with no access to electricity,” he said. He added that they are also working with congressional districts, local government units, civil society and even the Catholic Church in verifying if these resources have reached the target sitios.

Almendras said the biggest challenge for them was logistics and project management, as some electric cooperatives had the capability and financial muscle, while some are not capable because of financial considerations.

He said the National Electrification Administration paired electric cooperatives that had the technical capabilities and financial muscle with those with limited capabilities.

Almendras said the project covers the entire country, though most of the sitios are in the Visayas and Mindanao.

For 2012, Almendras said they have been allocated P2.5 billion for rural electrification.

“If we can pull this year’s project off in one quarter. Looks like we can do P2.5 billion in the first six months, and again if there are savings, we can deploy more than what was budgeted by Congress for sitio electrification,” he added.

“The biggest challenge remains to be those electric cooperatives that have limited capabilities. But pairing them with those that have the technical and financial capability proved to be a good solution and is working out well,” Almendras said.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Power coop to refund P6.8-million to consumers

By Teresa Ellera-Dulla
Saturday, December 17, 2011

CONSUMERS of the Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative Inc. (Noceco) covering Southern Negros will be enjoying a patronage refund pegged at P6.4 million starting this month.

Noceco chairman John Peter Millan confirmed the announcement Friday after the board approved a resolution for the distribution of the cooperative's net surplus or patronage refund to the members-consumers to be refunded in the form of discounts in electricity bills.

Plan your Sinulog week ahead and find out what's in store for Sinulog 2012.

Millan explained the patronage refund is given after the cooperative’s 2010 operations attained a net surplus of P12.8 million.

The board decided to distribute the net surplus or patronage refund on staggered basis in four tranches by three districts per release starting December 2011 billing month up to March 2012.

Meanwhile, Millan said that the Noceco board also strongly opposes the P0.44 rate hike asked by Kepco Salcon.

Noceco gets 10 megawatts of its baseload from Kepco Salcon.

Millan said that they found the reasons of Kepco unacceptable and untimely for the company to collect commercial rates.

Millan said that they go with the decision of other Negros Island electric cooperatives which are opposing such move by Kepco.

The Noceco board is now exploring possibilities of getting power supplies from other Independent Power Producers like the Panay Energy Development Corp. (TED)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 17, 2011.

Aboitiz pays P61m realty tax to Benguet

Manila Standard Today
by Alena Mae S. Flores and Dexter A. See

LA TRINIDAD—SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet Inc. has settled P61.2 million real property taxes to Bokod, Benguet, for the first time since 1999, as advance payment for the rehabilitated electro-mechanical equipment of the 105-MW Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant about 36 kilometers away from Baguio City.

SNAP-Benguet president and chief executive Emmanuel Rubio turned over the ceremonial check for P61,260,311.52 due in 2012 to take up actual payment to Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan on Thursday provincial capitol.

Rubio said that since Ambuklao’s re-operation six months ago, its contribution to the local government has been notable.

“As we continue to operate the Ambuklao and Binga hydroelectric power plants, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of the people in areas where we operate,” he said.

SNAP-Benguet, a joint venture between SN Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power Corp., took over the Ambuklao power plant along with the 100 MW Binga hydroelectric power plant in 2008 in a bid for the twin plants for $325 million under the government’s power sector privatization program.

Fongwan welcomed the payment as a boost to the local economy.

“We are elated that the company has set an example for paying their real property taxes on time so that the provincial and municipal government will be able to use the funds for the development of the different communities,” he said, that 50 percent will be equally divided by the provincial and municipal school boards to bankroll their education projects.

SNAP-Benguet set restoration of the then decommissioned 75-MW Ambuklao hydropower plant in the same year, which came back on-line in June.

The plant had been on shut-down since 1999 following technical problems and siltation due to the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

The re-operation of the Ambuklao facility in 2011 enabled Bokod to collect substantial real property taxes, a source of revenue unavailable to the town since plant shut down in 1999.

Benguet Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso, Bokod Mayor Mauricio Macay and Bokod Vice Mayor Reynaldo Tello, Jr. and members of the municipal board witnessed for the local government while SNAP-Benguet chief financial officer Eleanor Blomdahl and SN Aboitiz vice president for corporate services Michael Hosillos represented the hydroelectric power firm.

“Our constituents will now have better access to economic activities that will surely help improve their lives and help Bokod become a well developed town in the future,” Maca said.

He said SNAP meant renewed economic and development opportunities for Benguet, Bokod, and barangays Ambuklao and Tikey through the real property tax, National Wealth Tax, and access to financial benefits under laws such as Energy Regulation No. 1-94 providing benefits to host communities.

The plant also has programs for its host indigenous peoples’ community, the Shakilan ni Ikulos Peoples’ Organization.

Isabela execs say no to coal-fired power plant

By Charlie Lagasca The Philippine Star Updated December 17, 2011

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – Isabela officials have reiterated their opposition to a coal-fired power plant in the province, saying they would not approved any mining projects or related activities.

Lawyer Noel Manuel Lopez, the provincial administrator, said the administration of Gov. Faustino Dy III has foremost in its mind the protection of the environment and that it will never allow mining operations and other environmentally destructive projects.

“The present administration remains to be an environmentalist and will never allow anyone to operate mining and illegal activities in the province,” Lopez said in Wednesday’s meeting of the Isabela environment protection task force.

Lopez also warned that the provincial leadership will not tolerate people or groups dropping the names of local government officials for activities that destroy the environment, including illegal logging.

The Dy administration, upon its assumption into office in June last year, said it would not push through with a coal mining project which had been in the works during the term of his elder brother, former governor Faustino Dy Jr.

The planned 167-megawatt power plant, supposed to be undertaken by the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co., was put on hold when the elder Dy was defeated by former broadcast journalist Grace Padaca amid Church-backed opposition to it.

When he became governor, defeating Padaca in the May 2011 elections, the younger Dy said he would not pursue the project anymore due to environmental risks.

He said his decision to eventually abandon the project also came after the national government broached plans to construct a P12.3-million hydroelectric power plant in Ilagan town, which is more environmentally friendly, as an additional source of power besides the three-decade-old Magat Dam along the Isabela-Ifugao border.

“We are more inclined to favor renewable energy like the hydropower plant. We cannot take chances anymore, especially in the light of climate change issues like the El Niño, La Niña and others we still don’t know of,” he said.

Coal-fired power plants, according to environmentalists, are among the most environmentally destructive power facilities after nuclear-powered power plants.

Aboitiz unit remits P61.2 million in real property taxes

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) Updated December 17, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet Inc. (SNAP-Benguet) has remitted P61.2 million in real property taxes to the host community of the 105-megawatt Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) as advance payment for the rehabilitated electro-mechanical equipment of the facility.

SNAP-Benguet president and chief executive officer Emmanuel V. Rubio recently turned over the ceremonial check to mark the actual payment to Benguet Governor Nestor B. Fongwan.

Rubio noted that since Ambuklao’s re-operation six months ago, its contribution to the province and municipality has already been “significant.”

“As we continue to operate the Ambuklao and Binga HEPPs, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of the people in areas where we operate,” Rubio said.

SNAP-Benguet took over the Ambuklao HEPP along with the 100-MW Binga HEPP in 2008 following a successful bid for the twin plants amounting to $325 million through the government’s power sector privatization program.

In the same year, it set to work on rehabilitating and upgrading the then decommissioned 75-MW Ambuklao HEPP which came back on-line in June this year. The plant had been shut down since 1999 as a result of technical problems and siltation brought about by the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

SNAP-Benguet is a joint venture between SN Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power.

Basic Energy, Aussie firm ink deal for renewable energy projects

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated December 17, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Basic Energy Corp. has inked an agreement with Australia’s Energy 2035 Ltd. to jointly explore opportunities to develop renewable energy sources in the Philippines.

Energy 2035 is engaged in the development of renewable energy in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. It aims to be a major supplier of both solid and liquid biomass fuels to European and North Asian markets.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Basic said the memorandum of understanding is non-exclusive and non-specific to a project but will seek to identify opportunities that may be of interest to both parties using its networks in the Philippines and in the international energy business.

The company intends to develop modern, efficient technologies for biofuel and bio component production using a wide selection of non-edible feed stock and industrial waste in the biofuel production process in the most environmentally friendly way.

Basic Energy, on the other hand, wants to be a major instrument in the country’s drive for energy self-sufficiency through clean, efficient and reliable energy sources.

Basic Energy earlier signed an agreement with another Australian firm, New World Energy Ltd., to also jointly undertake the development of its Mabini geothermal energy project.

New World Energy has existing geothermal energy exploration projects within Australia and formed Geoenergy together with local partners Filtech Energy Drilling Corp. and PhilCarbon Inc. to acquire, explore and develop geothermal energy resources in the Philippines for power generation.

Basic Energy is also into oil and gas exploration through wholly-owned subsidiaries Basic Petroleum & Minerals Inc. (BPMI), an oil and gas exploration and mining company; Basic Diversified Industrial Holdings, Inc., an investment holding company; and iBasic Inc., an information technology management company and service integrator. It also owns 72.58 percent of Southwest Resources Inc., an oil exploration company.

Its two other wholly-owned subsidiaries include Basic Biofuels Corp., which is into the development of biofuels, and Basic Ecomarket Farms Inc., which is into agriculture, focusing initially on cassava development and production.

Basic Energy is presently a party, together with other oil exploration companies, in the exploration, development and production of contract areas in Service Contract 47 in offshore Mindoro and Service Contract 53 in onshore Mindoro.

Friday, December 16, 2011

First Gen declares dividends

By: Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:41 pm | Friday, December 16th, 2011

Lopez-led First Gen Corp. said its board on Friday approved the declaration of 2012 cash dividends on three series of preferred shares.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, First Gen said that for all outstanding Series “F” preferred shares, a cash dividend of P4 apiece will be given to stockholders of record as of Jan. 6, 2012.
The Series “F” perpetual preferred shares have an annual coupon rate of 8 percent per share and are entitled to receive dividends semi-annually.
In July this year, First Gen raised P10 billion from the issuance of 100 million Series “F” preferred shares.
In the meantime, the board also approved a cash dividend of two centavos for all outstanding Series “B” preferred shares and one centavo for all outstanding Series “E” preferred shares.
First Gen said its parent firm. First Philippine Holdings Corp., was the sole holder of the company’s Series “E” preferred shares. These shares have the following features: Voting, entitlement to dividends, nonparticipating, nonconvertible to common shares, and once redeemed, they revert to and may be reissued by the corporation.
According to First Gen, the cash dividends will be paid to its stockholders on Jan. 25, 2012.

EDC bond secures top grade from ratings firm

PhilRatings says EDC can maintain strong cash flow
By: Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:18 am | Friday, December 16th, 2011

Philippine Rating Services Corp. (PhilRatings) has maintained a PRS Aaa rating for Energy Development Corp.’s bonds amounting to P12 billion and its overall capacity to service maturing debts.
Obligations rated PRS Aaa are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk. This means that the borrower’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong, Philratings said in a statement.
The P12 billion worth of bonds were issued by the country’s largest geothermal producer in two tranches—with P8.5 billion due in June 2015 and P3.5 billion due in December 2016.
According to the credit watchdog, its rating was based on EDC’s reinforced sustainable revenue stream and strong cash flow generation; enhanced standing as the leading vertically integrated geothermal power producer in the country; and its financial flexibility, as well as improved debt profile, thereby mitigating various operational and financial risks.
Also considered was EDC’s weakened profitability during the interim period due to the non-cash non-recurring impairment provision in relation to the Northern Negros Geothermal Power Plant (NNGPP).
Philratings noted that EDC’s acquisition and rehabilitation of key government geothermal privatization projects, specifically the Palinpinon-Tongonan and the Bacon-Manito geothermal facilities, marked the full integration of the company’s geothermal value chain: from steam production to electricity generation.
“This allows harmonization in the decision-making process and savings in total operational costs. Aside from operational efficiency, this strategy is also expected to contribute to the stability of revenues going forward as these plants undergo rehabilitation to restore them to maximum capacity,” Philratings said.
It also pointed out that the bulk of the company’s energy production is contracted and tied to long-term take-or-pay contracts.
“Although this may hinder EDC from profiting from any sudden price advantage or opportunity in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), such arrangement provides sustainable and predictable cash flows for the company,” it further said.
Apart from the robust cash generated by operations, incremental borrowings further enhance cash levels of the company.
Philratings also noted that EDC has several layers of financial flexibility given the long-term arrangements it maintains with various financial institutions.

EDC retains top credit rating for bonds

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated December 16, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Energy Development Corp. (EDC), the world’s largest integrated geothermal company, retained its issuer credit rating of PRS Aaa from the Philippine Rating Services Corp. for its P12-billion bonds.

PRS Aaa is the highest credit rating on PhilRatings’ long-term credit rating scale. These obligations are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk as the issuer’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.

The bonds were issued in two tranches, with P8.5 billion due in June 2015 and P3.5 billion due in December 2016.

In issuing the rating, PhilRatings took into account EDC’s reinforced sustainable revenue stream and strong cash flow generation; enhanced standing as the leading vertically integrated geothermal power producer in the country; and its financial flexibility, as well as improved debt profile, thereby mitigating various operational and financial risks.

PhilRatings also considered EDC’s weakened profitability during the interim period due to the non-cash non-recurring impairment provision in relation to the Northern Negros Geothermal Power Plant (NNGPP).

EDC’s acquisition and rehabilitation of key government geothermal privatization projects (i.e. Palinpinon-Tongonan and the Bacon-Manito plants) marked the full integration of EDC’s geothermal value chain: from steam production to electricity generation. This allows harmonization in the decision making process and savings in total operational costs.

Aside from operational efficiency, this strategy is also expected to contribute to the stability of revenues going forward as these plants undergo rehabilitation to restore them to maximum capacity.

Bulk of the company’s energy production is contracted and tied to long-term take-or-pay contracts. Although this may hinder EDC from profiting from any sudden price advantage or opportunity in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), such arrangement provides sustainable and predictable cash flows for the company.

“Apart from the robust cash generated by operations, incremental borrowings further enhance cash levels of the company. EDC has several layers of financial flexibility given the long-term arrangements it maintains with various financial institutions, its improving debt profile and lighter covenants and terms it has negotiated for some of its loans in 2011, “ PhilRatings said.

The average tenor of EDC’s loans has been effectively lengthened while financing costs have also been substantially reduced as new loans have replaced some of the outstanding expensive debt.

EDC also continues to prepay its third currency loans to shift to peso denominated and US dollar-denominated debt, considering the natural hedge provided by its offtake contracts, thereby minimizing exposure to foreign exchange risk.

All these are expected to provide EDC with heightened opportunity to support the company’s growth priorities and operational efficiency going forward.

ERC issues compliance certificate for Cebu power proj

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) Updated December 16, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), has issued a certificate of compliance (COC) to Desco Inc. for its 1.059 megawatt Libertad natural gas power plant Brgy. Libertad, Bogo City, Cebu.

The plant is about 100 kilometers north of Cebu City. The COC is valid for a period of five years.

The COC must be renewed by the filing of an application at least six months prior to its expiration with proof of its continued compliance with financial, environmental and technical requirements.

Desco Inc. was incorporated and duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December 1974. Its primary purpose is to engage in the business as general contractors and builders of buildings and industrial plants and facilities of every type and description, including all auxiliary facilities thereof (i.e., to supply manpower and perform work as a special contractor in operations involving the energy exploration and extraction and water well drilling industries).

Desco is also engaged and ventured into the power generation business through the sale and distribution of power generating units and spare parts and the servicing of the said generating units. It is likewise engaged in the sale of electricity through the operation of power generating units.

The Libertad power plant is embedded in the distribution system of Cebu II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CEBECO II) via a distribution feeder.

The plant testing and commissioning were completed in October 2011.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PCCI Supports Discounted Power Rates

Privilege Extension For Ecozone Locators
Manila Bulletin
December 14, 2011, 11:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has thrown its support to the clamor of the Philippine Exports Zone Authority (PEZA) for the extension of the privilege of locators in the zones for discounted power rates.

The support does not come free, but with certain conditions. The discounted rates must not be passed on to consumers outside the zone in the guise of universal charges. It must last only until open access shall have been in place by December of next year and a parity in rates must come in with industries outside the zones.

This was made clear by PCCI energy committee chairman Jose Alejandro during the recent committee meeting when executives of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) informed the committee the transitory supply contract between it and the National Power Corporation (Napocor) is due to end on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 2011.

Meralco officials told the PCCI energy committee that under the expiring contract, zone locators enjoyed generation charges of P4.60 per kilowatt/hour, much cheaper than the average of P5.50 paid by other Meralco consumers today.

The cheap electricity that was supplied the zones within the Meralco franchise area was then assigned to the Ilijan power plant in Batangas owned by Napocor.

That plant has been sold out to private investors. Without power supply to sell, the Power Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), the successor state company to Napocor, is no longer in any position to renegotiate the contract.

Any new discounts for locators in the zones will henceforth be given by successor companies that took over the state-owned power plants in Luzon.

Enjoying the discounted rates until Christmas day are 352 companies located in 10 government and privately-run special economic zones that consume 227 million kilowatt/hours a year.

They account for 40 percent of total Philippine exports. Sixty percent of exports are contributed by enterprises outside the zones, mostly small and medium enterprises that will not even be covered by the open access provisions of the EPIRA law.

Duterte, Duterte and Duterte

By H. Marcos C. Mordeno | Wednesday| December 14, 2011

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/13 December) – Opponents of the coal-fired power plant project of Aboitiz Power Corp. have big reasons to be dismayed over the decision of the majority of the Davao City council overturning Mayor Sara Duterte’s veto of an ordinance that favors the company. They must have thought they were on the brink of total victory when the mayor thumbed down the project calling it inimical to the people’s health and the environment.
The opposition lost the battle at the city council. And they’re thinking perhaps that their lot is the same as that of the mayor, who professes concern for the general welfare by vetoing the pro-Aboitiz ordinance. They could be right in their presumption.
But the bigger picture is far from ideal if one looks beyond the issue of whether the city should allow the construction of a coal-fired power plant despite the risks it poses. What has probably escaped from public attention is that regardless of the outcome there’s no way for the Dutertes to lose in the political sense; they have all the bases covered.
Here’s why: The mayor has endeared herself to the environment groups and other sectors opposed to the project. On the other hand, her father, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, apparently wanted to assure the investors that he can still turn things around with a malleable city council. Son Paolo, who sits as president of the Association of Barangay Councils, played it safe by opting to abstain from voting on the motion to override the veto.
However, the elder Duterte, ever the cunning politician, was absent when the council decided on the fate of the veto. His absence made him technically not part of the decision that may have put the last nail on the coffin of the opposition to the coal-fired power plant. He let the pro-Aboitiz councilors take the blows, including those coming from the mayor. He knew she wouldn’t give the lawmakers a taste of what she did to that hapless court sheriff a few months back.
Indeed, the vice mayor has been insulated from criticisms that greeted the twenty-one councilors after they overruled the veto with undue haste. On hindsight, it could be because right from the start he has made it clear that he is in favor of the plant.
Knowing the vice mayor’s obstinacy when it comes to policy matters, the opposition to the project had pinned their hopes on the individual consciences of the councilors. Apparently, however, their noise, protests and warnings on the ill-effects of coal-fired power plants were muted by the promise of a merry Christmas to the councilors from an invisible corporate lobby.
Observers may find it interesting, if not amusing, that the Dutertes are finding themselves at opposite poles of the issue. I find it frustrating that regardless of how it finally ends they can still have the best of both worlds. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at

TeaM Energy project proves solar’s viability in off-grid electrification

Manila Bulletin
December 14, 2011, 2:37am

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of solar home systems (SHS) in an island in Quezon province has proven the technology’s viability as a solution to providing electricity in practically-inaccessible areas.

Through the partnerships among TeaM Energy Foundation Inc. (TEFI), the Department of Energy and Quezon II Electric Cooperative, approximately 3,400 households along the Polillo group of islands in Quezon were able to continuously enjoy the benefits of having electricity.

TeaM Energy president and chief executive officer Federico E. Puno has reiterated his company’s support to “the government’s effort to improve the lives of Filipinos by helping energize the most remote barangays in our country.”

The installation of solar power as technology solution for the energy needs of remote areas was started by the company in 2010.

The use of the technology is also very much aligned with the agenda being advocated by Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras – wherein he constantly articulates that solar rightfully has its place in off-grid areas.

The solar home systems hold the promise that they can be worthy alternative to the traditional gensets which used to power the areas in the Polillo island-group. It has been emphasized that the diesel-fired gensets have turned unsustainable given the rising cost of fuel; and at times, they are also being stricken with unreliability.

In fact, in the global energy agenda, it is ‘energy access’ that is being highlighted among the key areas that must be given attention to by policymakers to truly bring energy security notch higher in every country. That will be in addition to ensuring supply and affordability of energy prices.

It must be noted that it has also been TeaM Energy’s precursor company which made possible the electrification of most barangays in the country, through previous collaborative projects with the energy department.

TEFI, which is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of TeaM Energy explained that it utilized “a substantial grant from the DoE” into completing the energization initiatives in three municipalities in Polilio island, chiefly in Burdeos, Panukulan and Patnungan.

“These systems are facilitated and managed by Renewable Energy and Community Development Associations formed prior to the introduction of the solar energy systems in the area,” the company added.

To complete the loop, TEFI emphasized that it will have to accomplish further the electrification of four more barangays in Burdeos town: Bonifacio, Rizal, Carlagan and Mabini; and another barangay in Patnungan, which is Amaga.

“These barangays are considered among the most inaccessible places in the country, especially during the wet months when giant waves pummel motorized outrigger boats that are the only means of transport to connect them to the Quezon mainland,” TEFI has noted.

Globe Joins Energy Efficiency Benchmarking

Manila Bulletin
December 14, 2011, 12:25am

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala-run telecommunications firm Globe Telecom will help up the ante on the country’s energy efficiency drive as it joined the EE benchmarking initiative spearheaded by a regional network it has been affiliated to.

The intent of the GSMA Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) benchmarking being spearheaded by Singapore Telecom’s wholly-owned subsidiary Optus, along with its regional mobile associates, will be “to drive energy cost savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their network operations.”

Globe Telecom is strategically placed in Singtel’s regional affiliates, along with Airtel of India and Africa; Advanced Info Service of Thailand; Optus of Australia; Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd; Telkomsel of Indonesia; and Warid of Pakistan.

“The group companies will work with GSMA to benchmark their networks against industry peers using standard energy key performance indicators,” a press statement from Globe Telecom has noted. Such energy efficiency benchmarking collaboration was started last year, cornering participation from 34 operators in the more than 200 GSMA networks.

It has been noted that for the EE benchmarking exercise to bring results and “deliver long-term improvements,” it has to be undertaken annually with outcomes “tracked regularly against the benchmarks.”

As protecting the environment has become the global buzzword, industries are also becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities in reducing their respective carbon footprints. In the menu of options, cutting down energy consumption is one that holds the key.

SingTel chief executive officer international Hui Weng Cheng sounded off that “energy efficiency is a strategic priority for the group and is an important step towards the adoption of future renewable energy and building a sustainable operation.”

He added the benchmarking drive aptly complements “our regional Go-Green initiative to pave the way towards a greener future.”

The result of the initiative, it was indicated, will then help companies involved in the process “to identify areas to raise power consumption efficiency.”

Lawmakers seek probe on solar power allocation cut

By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) Updated December 14, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Two Mindanao congressmen urged the House energy committee yesterday to inquire into the reduction of solar power under the national renewable energy program.

In Resolution 1910, Representatives Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City and his brother Maximo, who represents the party-list group Abante Mindanao, said the Department of Energy (DOE) should explain the reduction from 269 megawatts to only 50 megawatts.

They said the big cut has implications for the power situation in Mindanao, which has been experiencing supply shortage as evidenced by off-and-on brownouts.

It also has implications on the country’s program to shift from traditional energy, which pollutes the environment, to “green” energy such as solar, wind and ocean power, they said.

They noted that “in an inexplicable turn of events,” the DOE initially reduced solar power allocation in the renewable energy mix from 269 megawatts to 235, then to 100 and finally to 50 megawatts last Sept. 16.

“An inquiry should be conducted on this issue in order to clarify the stance of the DOE as to why they are more in favor of coal or oil power instead of the more efficient and environmentally friendly renewable energy sources like solar power,” the Rodriguez brothers said.

“The impact on the rate of electricity from the construction of a solar power plant would only be around 2.28 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kwh), as compared to six centavos to one peso in the case of oil-fueled plants,” they said.

They urged the government to construct more renewable energy plants in Mindanao, including solar power plants, to stabilize the supply of electricity in the island.

They said as of now, the island is short of the required reserve capacity of 200 megawatts and brownouts occur whenever one power plant goes out of service.

“Mindanao needs to add at least 200 MW to the existing capacity of power plants within one year in order to avert the frequent occurrence of brownouts,” they stressed.

Renewable energy (RE) investors are awaiting the approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the so-called feed-in tariffs or rates for “green” energy plants.

Of the renewable energy mix, run-off water is the cheapest, while solar and wind are among the most expensive.

ERC officials have told a congressional hearing that once renewable energy plants start operating, electricity rates would go up by about 12 centavos per kilowatt-hour.

The rate increase has prompted calls from some sectors to defer the RE program considering that at their present levels, power rates in the country are among the highest not only in Asia but in the entire world as well.

Meralco acquires TransCo assets worth P520 M

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) Updated December 14, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has acquired more than P520 million worth of sub-transmission assets (STAs) of the state-owned National Transmission Corp. (TransCo).

In a statement Meralco said it signed Monday a number of contracts/agreements for the acquisition of all of the remaining STAs of TransCo within Meralco’s franchise area.

Meralco said the acquisition is in compliance with an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)resolution, which set the deadline for the acquisition of residual STAs on or before Dec. 31, 2011.

The acquisition was part of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) process wherein the transmission company will divest of its STAs to the distribution utilities (DUs), in recognition of the franchise rights of DUs.

There were two STA batches included in the new contracts. Batch 4 STAs includes assets that would be acquired solely by Meralco – the Dasma-Rosario 115-kv line, Rosario Substation, Tayabas Substation, and Ternate Substation. This transaction amounted to P381 million.

The other STAs (Batch 5) would be acquired through a consortium among Meralco and two other DUs – Second Batangas Electric Cooperative (Batelec II) and First Bay Power Corp. (FBPC).

As such, three consortium agreements were executed Meralco - Batelec II -FBPC; Meralco - FBPC; and Meralco - Batelec II. The total cost that the consortia, the first of its kind in the Luzon grid, would be paying Transco for the STAs is about P142 million.

These contracts and agreements would be filed for approval before the ERC.

The transfer of the STAs from Transco would pave the way for Meralco and the other DUs to assume full control of the operation, maintenance, upgrading

and expansion of the subject STAs and would translate to a more efficient and reliable service to customers served by it.

Davao City dads override mayor's veto on power plant

By Edith Regalado The Philippine Star Updated December 14, 2011 12:00 AM

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The members of the city council overrode on Monday Mayor Sara Duterte’s veto on their earlier approval to reclassify an area in Barangay Binugao, Toril district that would virtually allow Aboitiz Power Corp. to build a 300-megawatt coal power plant there.

The city council had approved the reclassification of the power plant’s site from a medium protected industrial zone to a heavy protected industrial zone, but Duterte vetoed it last week.

The city councilors decided to override the mayor’s veto despite persistent protest from environmental groups lobbying against the coal power plant project.

Duterte had urged the power stakeholders to explore alternative sources of energy, not just coal.

The councilors argued that given the power problem that Mindanao as a whole is now experiencing, the proposed coal power plant offers a viable source while the search for alternative sources is being undertaken.

Team Energy installs solar power facilities in Quezon

Published : Wednesday, December 14, 2011 00:00 Written by : Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo

TeaM Energy Corp. has completed the electrification of remote areas in Quezon province through solar power installations.
Federico Puno, Team Energy president, said the company, through TeaM Energy Foundation Inc. (TEFI), has energized 3,400 remote households in the province in partnership with the Department of Energy and Quezon II Electric Cooperative.

“It is an honor for TeaM Energy, through TEFI to have helped the DOE complete this project which brings the benefits of electricity to thousands of residents in the Polilio Group of Islands,” Puno said.

Using a substantial grant from the DOE, TEFI, the corporate social responsibility arm of TeaM Energy, made possible the installation of solar home systems in the three municipalities in Polilio Island, namely Burdeos, Panukulan and Patnanungan.

These systems are facilitated and managed by Renewable Energy and Community Development Associations (RECDAs) formed prior to the introduction of the solar energy systems in the area.

The last batch to be completed were four barangays in Burdeous namely Bonifacio, Rizal, Carlagan and Mabini, as well as Barangay Amaga in Patnanungan.

These barangays are considered among the most inaccessible places in the country, especially during the wet months when giant waves pummel motorized outrigger boats that are the only means of transport to and from the Quezon mainland.

In the past, small genset operators provided electric service in the area but had proved unsustainable given the rising cost of diesel fuel. Aside from being expensive, service was unreliable.

“We are hoping that the benefits of electricity will be fully harnessed to help improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries,” Puno said.

Team Energy is one of the largest independent producers of electricity in the country with over 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity.

Roderick de Castro, TEFI executive director, said farmers and fishermen now enjoy longer productive hours as a result of access to electricity. Others, he said, have begun to set-up rural micro-businesses that would not have been possible without electricity.

“Slowly we are seeing an economic transformation take place in Polilio,” he said.

TEFI also spent over P20 million to contract local NGOs and do ground work on community profiling, organizing and assessment activities.

The foundation also funded capacity-building activities and social entrepreneurship ventures for the RECDAS. As add-on, and in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management TEAM Energy Center for Bridging Societal Divides, values formation training formed a major part of the intervention.

The Polilio Island project is part of TEFI’s Household Electrification Assistance Through Renewable Technology And Social Preparation For The Upliftment Of Lives program (HEART AND SOUL), which started in 2010.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Senate OK’s P6.39-B additional Napocor budget

Business World Online
Posted on December 13, 2011 11:31:40 PM

THE SENATE yesterday approved on third and final reading a joint resolution seeking to add P6.39 billion to the National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) budget this year. This was seen as essential to allowing the state-owned firm to continue servicing off-grid areas and pay off debts.
In a unanimous vote, senators approved Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 13 paving way for President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s signing of the measure before Congress breaks for the holidays on Friday.
“Additional budget of P6.39 billion is necessary to cover NPC’s (Napocor) requirements for fuel, purchasing power, rental of generating sets, new power provider subsidy, debt service and capital expenditures,” finance committee chairman Senator Franklin M. Drilon said in a statement.
Mr. Drilon, who sponsored the joint resolution, stressed that the additional budget was essential to finance the costs of power generation for small power utilization group areas.
“It is necessary for the Senate and the House of Representatives to increase NPC’s operating budget for fiscal year 2011 from P13.97 billion,” he said.
The Senate last week adopted a counterpart resolution (House Joint Resolution 27), which was approved at the lower chamber on Dec. 6, to expedite the passage of the measure. If the Senate adopts a measure from the House of Representatives, the two chambers need not convene a bicameral conference to harmonize differences in its respective versions.
Mr. Aquino has certified the measure as urgent and urged its immediate enactment last Thursday.
The additional funds will be sourced from a universal charge for missionary electrification increase, a state subsidy for a maturing short-term loan and partial reimbursements of tax advances from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp., the joint resolution said.
Napocor is also mandated to submit to the Department of Budget and Management, the House committee on appropriations and the Senate finance committee a report on the utilization and actual funding sources of both the state power company’s original and supplemental budget for the year, it added.
“In no case shall the supplemental budget or any savings be used for the payment of salaries, advances of representation and transportation expenses or other personal allowances,” Mr. Drilon said.
Napocor had wanted a P30.74-billion 2011 budget, which ended up being trimmed to P7.575 billion. The joint resolution states that some P7.07 billion of approved outlay had already been used up in the nine months to September.
Napocor President Foilan A. Tampinco last week said that the state power company needs the additional budget to pay for its obligations like fuel and debt servicing.