BEHIND THE LINES: The promise of electricity PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2014 11:14

BY BOB JALDON

 

San Jose, Ca.— Very recently, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved the Power Sales Agreement (PSA) between the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. and the San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI). A very applauding development. This means that SRPI will soon construct its power plant in San Ramon — the single, biggest investment in Zamboanga city, thus far, that will ensure “safe, steadfast, reliable and affordable” power to consumers. That’s the first part of the gargantuan project. The next challenge will definitely be more intricate. It will involve the financial aspect of the project.

The following is the complete message of Alsons Power Group’s Vice President for Project Development Joseph Nocos:

“The Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Power Sales Agreement between the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. and the San Ramon Power, Inc. is a welcome development that will bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to provide safe, steadfast, reliable and affordable power to the people of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao.

“With the approval of the PSA, the next challenge in the development of the 105-megawatt SRPI plant will be the project financing phase. As many of us know, unforeseen events such as the 2013 Zamboanga City siege have aggravated the financial difficulties faced by Zamcelco. The usual process of securing financing for a major power plant project requires that the distribution utility - in this case, Zamcelco - be financially viable.

“To this end, several initiatives are currently being undertaken to enhance Zamcelco’s operating efficiency and financial viability via the entry of an experienced and professional power distribution company that will finance and manage Zamcelco.

“We fully support these initiatives as Zamcelco’s financial viability is a key prerequisite for SRPI to achieve financial closing and commence construction. The enhancement program of Zamcelco is expected to be completed within the 1st half of 2015.

“We, thus, expect to begin construction of the SRPI plant within the 2nd half of 2015, with SRPI targeting the commencement of operations before the end of 2018.

“The Alsons Power Group and Zamcelco are working closely together to ensure that Zamboanga City will have access to steady supply of interim power while awaiting the completion of the SRPI power plant. Alsons power subsidiaries that can provide interim power to Zamboanga City include the 100 MW Western Mindanao Power Corporation diesel plant in Sangali, Zamboanga City, the 103 MW Mapalad Power Corporation Iligan diesel power plant — which currently provides Zamboanga City around 18 MW of power, and the 210 MW Sarangani Energy Corporation coal-fired plant in Maasim, Sarangani province.

“Rest assured that we at Alsons Power Group remain steadfast in our commitment to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to the people of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao.”

It is a fact (this is me now) that for years, Zamcelco has been drawn back by heavy financial losses. It reached an eye-popping P800 million at one point. Therefore, there is a need for better management and financial control of the cooperative now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Not that Mr. George Ledesma and the board of directors are incompetent to handle the affairs of Zamcelco but that experts in power distribution should temporarily take over the cooperative.

These agents of change (for the better) are experts in organizational development and, therefore, will put Zamcelco on track, financially.