Monday, March 28, 2016

Concepcion plant energized

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 28, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC), the owner of the 2x135 MW coal fired power plant project in Concepcion, Iloilo confirmed the Concepcion-Barotac 138 kV transmission line (TL), including the new Concepcion 138 kV GIS substation and the expansion of Barotac Viejo, substation constructed by PCPC, are now energized.
“The immediate completion of the associated transmission facilities can be attributed to the hard work of the whole transmission line team of PCPC and the dedicated effort and full support NGCP extended to us,” Roel Castro, PCPC president and chief executive officer said.
Castro said another factor that contributed to the fast completion of the transmission lines is the early settlement of the transmission line right-of-way (ROW).
assets to NGCP,” he added.
PCPC’s power plant will be synchronized with the Visayas grid by last week of April and will be delivering power supply to its customers in Panay, Negros and the rest of Visayas. Synchronization will be done in coordination with NGCP.
The company is scheduled to have its reliability tests run in the next couple of months. Once completed, the first unit of the 2x135-MW plant will be up for full commercial operations.
“The schedule of the commercial operations is just right on track as what we have committed to our customers,” Winifredo Pangilinan, SVP for Project Development Group said.
Ten distribution utilities and electric cooperatives have signed up with PCPC for their baseload power capacity requirements, who also need to deliver reliable and stable power generation supply to their individual customers (industrial, commercial and residential consumers).
PCPC is a joint venture of Palm Thermal Consolidated Holdings Corp. and Jin Navitas Resource Inc.         

Solar power fires up Iloilo’s entertainment hub

By: Nestor P. Burgos Jr. - 12:19 AM March 28th, 2016

ILOILO CITY—This Visayan city’s thrust to become a more livable community got a boost with the adoption of solar power in one of its popular food and entertainment spots.

Since March 12, the Riverside Boardwalk has been using solar power generated by panels installed on its rooftop.

It is Iloilo City’s first restaurant and entertainment center that has adopted solar energy.

The 10-kilowatt solar power system supplies about 10 percent of the establishment’s power needs of about 13,000 kilowatt-hours.

The establishment saves from a low of P12,549 to a high of P18,000 monthly (during summer) because of the self-generated solar energy, said Alvin Lopez, sales officer for Iloilo of Primos de Boracay, the firm that supplied and installed the solar power system.

Teodoro Pison, president of Riverside Boardwalk Properties Inc., said adopting solar energy for their business “was a natural progression from our commitment to the ecological preservation of the Iloilo River and its lush mangroves.”

He was referring to efforts to rehabilitate the Iloilo River and the establishment of the 1.2-kilometer Esplanade stretching from Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue to Carpenter’s Bridge in Mandurriao District here.

Efforts to rehabilitate and conserve the Iloilo River have drawn national and international recognition. The Esplanade has become a recreational center space for walking, jogging, open-air dining, and a venue for river water sports as well as a tourist attraction.

“Compared to the immense efforts and resources devoted to the dredging and cleaning of the river, and surrounding it with the Esplanade, the solar project pales in comparison. But it is a small step in the direction of reducing our carbon footprint and [mitigating the impact of] climate change,” Pison said in a statement.

The Boracay Island-based Primos de Boracay installed the 40 solar panels (250 watts per panel) on a 75-square-meter area on the Boardwalk’s rooftop at a cost of at least P1 million. The panels are covered by a five-year warranty.

The Boardwalk’s solar system can power an equivalent of 1,600 5-watt light bulbs or 10 units of 1-horsepower air-conditioning units, Lopez said.

Unni Jose Macavinta, chief executive officer and general manager of Primos de Boracay, said using solar power and other forms of renewable energy should be the direction of communities amid the environmental effects of using coal and petroleum products.

He said installing solar panels in households and commercial establishments would “empower” consumers because they would not pay generation and transmission fees.

The cost of investing in solar power systems has also gone down, Macavinta said.

“Before, it took about 10 years to recover expenses in investing in a solar power system. Now it can take from five to seven years,” he said.

Higher power rates loom in April

By: Riza T. Olchondra 12:16 AM March 28th, 2016

CONSUMERS may have to pay slightly higher power bills next month as distribution utilities such as Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) start collecting new Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) charges.

Regulators recently approved higher FIT-Allowance (FIT-All) charges of 12.40 centavos a kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 2016. The current rate (implemented since February 2015) is 4 centavos a kWh. The higher FIT-Allowance (FIT-All) will result in an additional P16.80 in the monthly bill of a typical Meralco consumer using 200 kWh, officials of the power retailer said. That is, if all other bill components such as the generation, transmission and distribution charges as well as related taxes remain the same.
The FIT-All is a uniform charge billed on all on-grid consumers who are supplied with electricity through the distribution or transmission network. The charge goes to a fund managed by National Transmission Corp. (Transco) to pay guaranteed rates to renewable energy (RE) developers under the FIT scheme. Transco formally advised collecting agents such as Meralco last month of the anticipated FIT-All increase. Thus, the higher FIT-All would be reflected in the April bills of customers, Meralco said.
The next batch of monthly FIT-All payments from power consumers will be used to pay renewable energy projects amounting to P6.92 billion, of which the bulk will be going to wind projects, P2.79 billion; solar, P2.59 billion; biomass, P1.26 billion, and hydro, P282.52 million.

The regulatory body assessed the list of existing FIT-qualified projects as well as pending applications that are likely to have met the requirements for eligibility before the March 15 deadline for the second batch of solar FIT.
The ERC-approved FIT rates are P6.63 a kWh for biomass, P5.90 for hydro, P8.53 for first phase and P7.40 for second phase of wind, and P9.68 for first phase and P8.69 for second phase of solar power.
ERC said it took cognizance of the appropriate commercial operations date of the plans “to avoid any deficit occurring in the funds should these plants remain unaccounted for.”
Transco sought regulatory approval in December to collect a feed-in tariff allowance or FIT-All of 10.25 centavos a kWh from consumers starting this year but the ERC approved a higher rate based on certain factors and assumptions such as the total capacity of FIT-qualified projects and electricity sales.

Balisacan chides DOE for lack of leadership

Lenie Lectura - March 28, 2016

THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) strongly urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to take the lead in coordinating with other industry players in crafting a blueprint that will outline the long-term development plans for the power sector.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balicasan said during the second day of the Energy Policy and Development Program (EPDP) conference the country would enjoy uninterrupted and affordable power supply if all government agencies within the power sector work together.
“If we want to sustain the growth of our economy from last year, then we must all plan very well. There should be a blueprint for the energy industry. The DOE must be on top of this,” Balicasan said.
He noted the lack of coordination among the DOE, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and other agencies in crafting plans and programs for the oil and power sectors.
“The DOE should have an overall development plan and it should let other agencies and other sectors to get involved. You have new power plants, but you don’t have transmission lines. Where is coordination there? There is growth in manufacturing, then DOE projections should also include that, as well, in its plan,” Balisacan pointed out.
The Neda spearheaded the EPDP, which aims to help the government develop policies and strategies that will make cost-effective use of resources; promote sustainable energy development; and make electricity accessible and affordable to Filipinos.
Balisacan said the EPDP is Neda’s own way of crafting an energy policy program to contribute to national policy-making. A workshop was recently convened to review the energy development areas prioritized by the government for evidence-based policy-making.
“[The] EPDP was set up so that we would have a better understanding of the power industry. Every policy should be based on evidence. With enough evidence and data, the level of success of any particular policy is higher than those not based on data,” Balisacan added.
One important issue that continues to hound the power sector is the cost of electricity in the country.
“The cost of energy must fall. If there is more growth expected, then it means we have to put in more power capacity. We want an affordable electricity 24/7,” he said.

PSALM wants to recover differential ancillary service charges from NGCP

by Lenie Lectura - March 28, 2016

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) wants to recover nearly P7 billion in so-called differential ancillary service charges from the National Grid Corp. of the
Philippines (NGCP).

If approved by regulators, this will be passed on to distribution utilities (DUs), which, in turn, will result in additional power rates for end-users. Effectively, this is an increase in power bills.

In an eight-page application filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror, the recovery of P6,888,065,922.01 worth of ancillary services differential for the billing period 2008 to October 2009 will be collected in only a month in the Luzon grid, and six months in the Visayas and Mindanao grids.

Broken down, P2 billion will be collected in the Luzon grid, P2.5 billion in the Visayas and P2.4 billion
in Mindanao.

Of the P2-billion differential ancillary service charge in Luzon, P1.5 billion will be collected by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) from its customers.

“On the part of Meralco, we estimate that the rate impact on our customers would be around P0.51/kWh [kilowatt-hour] if the recovery is approved by the commission,” Meralco Head for Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez told the BusinessMirror on Sunday.

The anticipated P0.51-per-kWh rate increase is equivalent to paying P103 more for Meralco customers who typically consume 200 kWh in a month.

“If the ERC approves the motion, the NGCP will have to bill the DUs nationwide, including Meralco. Then the rate impact will be reflected after one month in the bills of end-users. The impact will mainly be felt as part of the transmission charge.”

However, there will also be some upward effects on the system-loss charge, the value-added tax or VAT and local franchise tax, Fernandez said in an interview.

“For a 200-kWh household, the rate impact is estimated to be P0.51/kWh or P103,” Fernandez reiterated.

Meralco has 5.8 million customers as of end-December 2015, of which 91.6 percent are residential customers. The remaining 2.1 percent are commercial customers and 6.3 percent comes from industrial customers.

Ancillary services
In a nutshell, ancillary services are essential in maintaining power quality, stability and security of the power grid. They stabilize electricity supply and prevent system-wide blackout and regulate the volume of electricity delivered to end-users.

In emergency cases, when a power plant breaks down, for instance, ancillary service providers make backup plants readily available.

NGCP said ancillary services are needed to ensure reliability in the operation of the transmission system and, consequently, in the reliability of the electricity supply in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao grids.

“It is the responsibility of NGCP to adequately serve generation companies, distribution utilities and suppliers requiring transmission service and/or ancillary services through the transmission system,” the grid operator said.

An ancillary service charge is recovered by NGCP from its load customers like Dus that, in turn, will bill end-consumers.

NGCP said it was tasked to provide ancillary services to all transmission users of the main grids by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira), its implementing rules and regulations, the Philippine Grid Code (PGC) and by Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) rules.

NGCP is also mandated to implement the ERC-promulgated Ancillary Service Procurement Plan (ASPP) and the Ancillary Services Cost Recovery Mechanism (AS-CRM).

How it all began
In October 2009 the ERC gave the National Power Corp. (Napocor) provisional authority (PA) to charge the NGCP for the provision of ancillary service, pending approval of the Ancillary Services Procurement Agreement (ASPA) between Napocor and NGCP.

A year later, in March 2010, the ERC made permanent the provisionally approved ASPA rate to be effective from the April 2008 billing period (March 26, 2008 to April 25, 2008) until the issuance of the PA on October 12, 2009.

At the same time, the ERC directed Napocor and NGCP to submit additional recoverable AS differential, which is the difference between the ERC approved AS rate and Transco (National Transmission Corp.) calculated AS rate. They were also asked to submit a collection scheme for the April 2008 to October 2009 billing period.

Napocor and the NGCP both complied.

Napocor, in its compliance with manifestation, seeks to recover P6,048,276,707.00 in AS differential for the period. The NGCP, meanwhile, said in its compliance with manifestation that the AS differential amounts to P5,286,853,359.62. The grid operator also submitted its proposed billing and collection scheme of one month for the Luzon grid and six months for the Visayas and Mindanao grids.

Then, in May 2011, Napocor filed its manifestation and motion for the ERC approval of the AS differential based on updated data submitted by NGCP. In that motion, Napocor noted the principal AS differential of P5,286,853,359.62 now reconciles with the amount submitted by NGCP. Accordingly, in January 2012, Napocor filed before the ERC a motion to resolve its May 2011 manifestation and motion for the approval of the total AS differential amount of P6,888,065,922.01 composed of the principal AS differential, interest and VAT.

“To date, Napocor and NGCP have fully complied with the requirements of the commission’s order to submit the recoverable AS differential amount and collection scheme from NGCP,” NGCP documents show.

In the meantime, by virtue of the asset-debt transfer between Napocor and PSALM, and pursuant to section 49 of Epira, PSALM intervened in the proceeding through a petition for intervention in July 2009.

“Consequently, as owner of all existing Napocor generation assets which provide NGCP with ancillary services, PSALM now comes before the commission and respectfully moves for the approval of the following:
Principal AS differential amount covering the April 2008 to October 2009 billing period amounting to P5,286,853,359.62;
Applicable legal interest;
Imposition of VAT on principal AS differential amount using the average Napocor AS mix covering the periods April 2008 to October 2009;
Collection of one month in Luzon grid and six months in the Visayas and Mindanao grids as proposed by NGCP,” PSALM said.

“Wherefore, it is most respectfully prayed that the commission expediently issue an order,” the NGCP said.

GNPower inks Visayas supply deals

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 27, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – GNPower Ltd. Co. has signed several short-term power supply deals with 11 electric cooperatives (ECs) from Eastern Visayas.
In separate filings with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), GNPower and the Region 8 ECs sought the approval of the power supply agreements (PSA).
GNPower won the supply contracts through a competitive bidding conducted by the eight ECs in late 2014 with the lowest price offer of P5.05 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for the supply of 43 megawatts.
Following negotiations, GNPower and the ECs raised the supply capacity to 52 MW and lowered the contract price to P4.96 per kwh.
Under the negotiated supply contracts, GNPower will supply 52 MW to the 11 ECs in the region for one year beginning Dec. 26 this year.
These electric cooperatives are composed of Don Orestes Romualdez Electric Cooperative, Leyte II Electric Cooperative, Leyte III Electric Cooperative, Leyte IV Electric Cooperative, Leyte V Electric Cooperative, Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative, Biliran Electric Cooperative, Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Samar I Electric Cooperative, Samar II Electric Cooperative, and Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative.
According to the ECs, the additional power from GNPower “is needed to curtail any power interruptions that may be experienced by member-consumers due to inadequate power supply in the region.”
GNPower, owned by Nauruan-American firm Power Partners Ltd. Co., owns the Bataan plant, which started operating in 2013.
Other investors in the Bataan plant include Sithe Global Power LLC, a company owned by investors of The BlackStone Group.