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Thursday, 13 August 2015 10:45

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — I can’t see why some “tampa bueno” people refuse to accept what’s good for Zamboanga city. It’s a good thing that the industrial group and the businessmen interposed no objections to the rates proposed by some independent power producers to the Energy Regulatory Commission for additional power that will partially resolve Zamboanga’s electricity dilemma.

A year ago when the ERC approved the power sales agreement between the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. and the San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI), the partnership came as a welcome development because it brought us closer to having “safe, steadfast, reliable and affordable power.”

The entry of SRPI in Zamboanga as a major power provider and the single, biggest investor at the Zamboecozone in San Ramon was approved by the agencies concerned, concurred by the city government then led by Congressman Celso L. Lobregat and the city council, with the backing of the cross-section of the community.

After a thorough scrutiny of the PSA, the ERC and those initially opposed to the PSA found nothing hanky-panky in the incredible agreement that will make Zamboanga a power-independent city — with affordable and reliable power — starting 2019.

We would have had steady power by 2017 had it not been for delays in the public hearings conducted by the ERC due to several postponements of hearings requested by the intervenors. Well, that’s water under the bridge now. Eventually, the ERC approved the PSA.

The second phase of the project is the financing stage. As the rallyists  demanded last week, Zamcelco should divulge how it incurred a huge debt that has accumulated since the ’80s.

Now, read and comprehend. The process in securing financing for a major power plant project requires that the distributing utility, in this case Zamcelco, is financially viable. Right now, it’s not. Both Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar and Rep. Celso L. Lobregat, in separate statements, agree that a professional power distribution company should be contracted by Zamcelco to enhance its financial viability. That’s how they came up with the term Enhancement Program. The last time I checked, that process is already in the making.

The enhancement program, if it goes on schedule, is expected to be concluded this year or early next year. By then, SRPI, as projected and promised, shall be ready to begin construction of the power plant targeted to be completed by early 2019. Claro ba?

In the meantime, Alsons Power Group will provide interim power in Zamboanga through its subsidiaries like the Mapalad Power Corporation in Iligan City, the Western Mindanao Power Corp. based in Sangali, this city, and the Sarangani Energy Corporation in Maasin, Sarangani province. Mas claro ya ba?

Right now, Mapalad is supplying power to Zamboanga to help reduce power outages. By December, another 50 megawatts will be infused by WMPC. All these initiatives have been announced by Mr. Lobregat last month in one of his Sunday press conferences. Mr. Lobregat then urged Mr. George Ledesma, Zamcelco