By Lenie Lectura - February 7, 2017
THE chairman of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) wants to rehabilitate the Agus and Pulangi power plant complexes before they are sold to prospective investors.
“We have to fix the power-plant complexes first,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Monday night.
“They are operating at only 40 percent of total capacity, so we think if we use Chinese ODA money—we submitted it to them—we will get it up to speed, use it as base load for Mindanao, and then probably look at some kind of privatization, but not selling it. Maybe privatizing the operations. We have to get [over] the first hurdle, fix it first,” Dominguez said.
The Agus complex has 728-megawatt (MW) installed capacity, consisting of six cascading-power plants strategically located along the Agus River.
The Pulangui complex is a 255-MW hydropower facility with three generating units. Both facilities, however, already have derated generation.
Both supply Mindanao electric-power consumers more than 50 percent of its total electricity requirements. The power facility is owned by PSALM, the agency tasked to manage state-owned power assets, and is operated by state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor).
Dominguez said it is PSALM’s mandate to dispose of all the state’s power assets to pay the debts of Napocor.
“The regular selling of power assets, that’s No. 1. Then you have selling parts of strips of power-generating sources. The real big one is Agus. That one, we have to rehab first. Everything’s for sale, except Agus,” he said.
Earlier, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) called on the government to take advantage of the glut in power supply by overhauling old power plants.
“Nag-overbuild tayo ngayon,” said SMC President Ramon S. Ang, referring to numerous power plants being constructed and will be put up across the country. “But if we overbuild, then we have the time to repair old plants. If I were the government, I would shut down Agus right away and repair it while there is oversupply. In short, we now have the opportunity to repair old plants,” Ang said.