Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Meralco eyes 100 MW from solar rooftops

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 22, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) targets to build a portfolio of up to 100 megawatts (MW) from solar rooftops in the next three years.
The company has firmed up plans to put up a separate unit for its solar-powered investments, Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said.
“We will put up another unit of Meralco called MSpectrum,” he said. “We can look at solar and wind but its focus will initially be solar. Wind, will remain with Meralco PowerGen because it’s big scale.”
Meralco’s power generating projects are under Meralco PowerGen Corp., which is building a portfolio of up to 3,000 MW of new power capacity, mainly from baseload power plants, to address the growing energy demand in the country.
Under MSpectrum, Reyes said the firm now in the development stage will go into solar rooftops within its franchise area.
“We are targeting bigger commercial, industrial customers. We don’t have a firm target yet, but maybe over three years, aspirational is up to 100 MW,” he said.
Meralco announced in July it will be putting up another subsidiary for its renewable energy projects, starting with solar technology. It will also look at wind, run-of-river, other hyropower and gas projects.

Mutiny of wannabe…

by Joey Mirasol - Dec 22, 2015

PALECO romantics want to call the Board upheaval earlier this week a coup d’état, but it actually was nothing but an illegitimate power-grab by a pretender to the throne, perhaps at the behest of that unscrupulous IPP, DMCI Power.  That recent snap election instigated by Jeffrey Tan-Endriga, which resulted in his emergence as the Chairman by sheer luck of a tossed coin, reeks of foul motives and duplicity.
The justification for that motion to declare the position of Chairman as vacant instigated by Tan-Endriga was the unauthorized signing of a MOA by former Chairman Acosta with the Pagibig Fund, something that would benefit the employees of Paleco, which by itself was no big deal and above-board, except for that missing Board authority.  But the real reason may have been Acosta’s signing of Delta P’s PSA, which earned the ire of DMCI Power, whose pending “Supplemental” PSA was not signed by Acosta because it contained a provision that condoned and forgave DMCI’s contract violations and attendant penalties.  It is well-known that Tan-Endriga champions DMCI’s cause at the Paleco Board, particularly that controversial “Supplemental” PSA.  And lo and behold, the day after the mutiny, the DMCI proposal was approved, without the condonation, we hope.
Let’s first get to know Tan-Endriga, who I earlier absolved of fault after GM Zambales’ defense of his candidacy for Director of the Rizal-Quezon district.  It has come to light that Tony Cabrestante has filed a verified complaint questioning the legitimacy of Tan-Endriga’s election to the Board because of his academic qualifications.  It appears from the evidence submitted by Cabrestante that Endriga-Tan is not a graduate of a 4-year BS degree as required by Paleco and NEA regulations.  He is a graduate, although not yet as of the time he filed his candidacy and was elected, of an executive degree program from the University of Makati, some type of program designed for those who failed to study during their younger years, particularly for elected lgu officials who want a degree to enhance their curriculum vitae.  This is not the same as four years of drudgery spent in college, where even seminars are credited as classroom time.  But even granting that this type of degree qualifies as a four-year BS course, was Tan-Endriga already a graduate when he filed his candidacy and won?  It now appears that he lied on his application, which are grounds for his dismissal as a Director of Paleco.
The next issue is the legitimacy of his assumption of the Chairman’s position.  The by-laws of Paleco state that the officers and directors of the Board shall serve in their positions for one year, unless decreed otherwise by a MAJORITY of the Board.  The results of the secret balloting among the nine directors was 4 for Acosta, 4 for Tan-Endriga and 1 for Arzaga.  The tie-vote’s winner was decided by a tossed coin!  Is this what one can consider to be a majority decision of the Board?  A tie is not a majority, and the coin is not a member of the Board that can cast a vote.  C’mon… how did this get past that august body, if they are to be considered as such?
Because of the above, it now becomes academic that the result of the snap election is illegal, and any acts of that Chairman can be deemed illegal and without credence or value.  What a sad state of affairs for our Cooperative.  Maybe it is time to privatize that God-forsaken entity to get rid of all the frustrations and disappointments suffered by its owner-member-consumers.  After all, a private entity with a profit motive may provide quality service better than a cooperative with an entrenched, callous, and self-serving board of directors.
And we learned that our suggestion to open the board meetings to observers from media and the member-owners was shot down unceremoniously by the Board.  And why is that?  Do these directors have hidden agendas that they don’t want the public to know of?  Or are they ashamed that their actuations and demeanor during these meetings could subject them to public ridicule because of their inanity and self-interests?  Children, may I advise you that keeping your meetings secret does not give you an aura of superiority and importance; on the contrary, it only projects yourselves as timid and afraid to be found out as idiots.  So there, better reconsider that decision, if you want to gain the respect of your constituents and the public.  I for one can only surmise that there is evil lurking behind those closed doors, not that you care or are sensitive to public opinion…
As expected, Mayor Bayron failed to respond to the DILG’s letter asking for his comment to my complaint regarding his misuse of City Government employees to act as his watchers and gofers during the recount of ballots relative to the election protest case filed by Edward Hagedorn.  This anomaly not only involves these personnel; we are almost sure that City funds were also used, not only for their salaries, but also for their travel expenses while on assignment to Manila from the day the ballot boxes were transported thereat, to the culmination of the recount proceedings.  If such was the case, then I am once again convinced that Bayron is nothing but a corrupt cheapskate, using peoples’ money for his gain.
Why did I expect his silence?  Well, for one, what can he say to my accusation except “Duh…?”  If he pleads ignorance, that won’t cut it, the tenet being that ignorance of the law excuses no one, even the morons.  But Bayron knew what he did, and continues doing so when it comes to politicking, was wrong, morally and legally.  Yet his true nature dictates that he be immune and be autocratically exempt from such menial trivialities, thinking that they do not apply to persons of import such as he.  Such arrogance, from someone who graduated from being a paid lackey of his brother-in-law, to one who bites the hand that fed him.
Hauteur pa more, from a thug aspiring to become a titan.  Soon, after I get around to filing the case, I will relate the kanto-boy actuations of our illustrious mayor against me during recall election day at the San Pedro voting center, actions that speak loud of a crook with a criminal mind.
But I digress… As I understand it, DILG City Director Maranan is prepared to give Bayron another fifteen days to respond to his directive.  But I wonder if that determination will sit well with SILG Mel Sarmiento, who has shown his no-nonsense attitude when it comes to good governance.  The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials does not consider second chances, so let’s see what DILG’s Office of the Secretary will do.  At the least, Bayron should be reprimanded, and if possible, suspended or dismissed…
Then he can conduct his campaign with his own money and resources, instead of City Hall’s.
Next week is Christmas week, so let’s be kind to the unfortunate, particularly those lacking the grace of our Lord.  Happy Christmas, dear brethren; may the Lord favor us with blessings, even though undeserved…

Meralco, Repower to develop hydro projects

December 21, 2015 9:53 pm  by RITCHIE A. HORARIO, REPORTER

POWER distribution giant Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has partnered with Repower Energy Development Corp. (REDC) for the development of mini hydropower plants across the country.
The initiative marks Meralco’s first foray into mini-hydropower development, a renewable energy source.
The two companies signed a joint venture agreement to build and develop mini-hydropower plants using run-of-river resources for renewable and efficient energy production with minimal environmental impact.
REDC has over 100 megawatts (MW) of mini-hydropower projects clustered in Quezon, Camarines Sur, Bukidnon, and other provinces under development, representing a total investment of $400 million.
REDC early this month broke ground on its Rangas mini hydropower project located in CamSur.
Its next ground-breaking is for the Upper Labayat project located in Quezon which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
REDC, thru its subsidiary Philpodeco, has three operating mini hydropower plants all located in Laguna. The operating plants sell the power output to Meralco.
Dexter Tiu, REDC chief executive, welcomed the company’s partnership with Meralco.
“Our wide experience in working with sustainable energy sources has allowed us to maximize its potential through our long-term approach of using best of breed international technologies combined with local excellence in deployments,” said Tiu.
The REDC-Meralco joint venture for mini-hydropower projects will avail of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme mandated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. The FIT rate is guaranteed by the government for 20 years at P5.9 per kilowatt hour.
“The joint venture will lead to a series of project ground-breaking of mini hydropower plants starting from the first half of 2016 in select regions, following REDC’s vision for its clustered development strategy,” the company said.
Meanwhile, Meralco is creating a separate unit for its renewable energy (RE) foray.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the creation of the RE unit called MSpectrum is already in the development stage.
“We’re putting up a separate unit. We want to be also in renewables,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the new unit will also explore solar power projects.
“We can look at solar and wind, but its focus will initially be solar. Wind will remain with Meralco PowerGen because it’s big-scale,” he said.
Reyes said they are targeting to install at least 100 megawatts (MW) of solar power within three years.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Meralco hopes to end 2015 with 5% sales growth

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 21, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) expects to end 2015 with over five percent growth in sales volume compared to a year ago, the highest growth seen by the company, its top official said.
However, the country’s largest power distributor sees softer sales in 2016 due to higher base.
“On a year to date basis, we’ll see 5.3 to 5.4 growth (in sales volume in 2015),” Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said.
He noted this projection is ahead of the historic growth rate of three to four percent of power sold by the company.
In November in particular, sales volume reached eight percent growth from the same month in 2014.
Reyes said there are a number of factors which have helped drived the electricity sales and demand higher.
 “Number one, inflation has been at an all time low, resulting in consumers having a disposable income affecting the purchasing power of customers,” he said. Even businesses, because of the low inflation, the cost of doing business is lower.”
November inflation was at 1.1 percent, up from a record low of 0.4 percent in October.
But while the November rate increased from a record low, year-to-date inflation averaged 1.4 percent, still lower than the 4.3 percent rate from the same period last year.
Reyes also highlighted the higher temperature starting June, which drove stronger demand for electricity.
“It’s very peculiar but from June to November, temperature has been warmer. This is the first time that peak demand happened not within the summer months but in August,” he said.
The company official also stressed the construction of vertical and horizontal housing developments, which add to the number of Meralco customers.
“The fact that banking system in the market has been very liquid, there is so much money available for construction of vertical and horizontal housing units,” Reyes said.
For this year, Meralco has set P18.5 billion core net income target, up from the P18.1 billion core profit earned in 2014.
While sales volume is expected to be at record levels this year, Reyes said sales in 2016 would be softer.
“I think for 2016, we’re still looking at maybe 3 to 3.5 percent especially that you’re working from a high base already,” he said.