S.P.E.C.T.R.E. PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2015 15:37

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Steady Power to Electric Consumers Through Reliable Energy (SPECTER). This is more than the latest James Bond thriller that deals in intelligence information. This addresses our power woes. Let me explain.

Years ago, the Alsons Power Group endeavored on an ambitious electricity generation plan that would make Mindanao, particularly Zamboanga city, blackout-free. It took more than three years to put everything into motion that finally led to the signing of a Power Sales Agreement (PSA) between the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) and the San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI), a subsidiary of Alsons Power. That achieved, Zamcelco needed to undergo a financial facelift because it has to attain Category “A” level as prescribed by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) from its now very disappointing, dismaying “Yellow II” level, a step closer to bankruptcy.

To achieve that status, an Enhancement Program (EP) will have to be done with a temporary management takeover of Zamcelco by an Independent Management Contractor (IMC). On the table now is the completion of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the conduct of a bidding for interested management consultants to help Zamcelco turn from RED to BLUE. Hopefully, by the first quarter of next year, the process could be done. I pray.

SRPI will commence building its base-load coal power plant inside the Zamboecozone in San Ramon by the second quarter of next year and will be completed, according to its timeframe, by the middle of 2019. That power plant will be an imbedded plant in Zamboanga city with a total generating capacity of 105 megawatts. The entire output of the plant will be dedicated solely to Zamboanga city, if need be, – meaning if the entire world goes dark, Zamboanga will be as bright as the sun. CLARO BA?

Contrary to what some noisy, but empty, quarters are saying, Alsons Power’s Mapalad Power Corp. has gone beyond the 18 MW it is supplying Zamcelco. This was done upon the behest of Rep. Celso L. Lobregat, given the FAILURE of the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

Now being heard by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is  the PSA between Zamcelco and the Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) located at Sangali, for 50 MW to be available by December 13 when WMPC becomes a merchant plant as interim power for Zamboanga city. The 50 MW will minimize, if not negate, irritating scheduled or unannounced blackouts. Clear?

As to the claim of some loud, but empty, people that Alsons Power has monopolized or cornered the power supply to Zamcelco, please be informed, damas y caballeros, that there are THREE, TRES, TATLO companies breathing life into Zamcelco – National Power Corporation (NPC)/Psalm, Therma Marine (Aboitiz) and Mapalad Power (Alsons). Is that monopoly? Zamcelco is NOT COMPELLED to source power exclusively from Alsons Power or from any other company. These three companies generate a combined low 66 MW, way below our demand of 94 MW. That is why we have rotating blackouts. And this is why, ladies and gentlemen, we need to contract 50 MW more from WMPC to ensure that we would have a bright and merry Christmas. Simple arithmetic. This arrangement will also guarantee that there will not be any anomalous blackouts during election day. Alsons is committed to provide power to Mindanao on election day.

RELIABILITY and AVAILABILITY. That is what Alsons is offering. It is not Zamcelco, but ERC, that determines the rates charged to consumers. Affordability, mujeres and hombres, is not an issue. It is AVAILABILITY of power that comes into serious play. IS THAT SO DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND, hijas and hijos?

In the own words of Mayor Climaco-Salazar in the Oct. 4 issue of Zamboanga Today: “We, the power consumers of Zamboanga, cannot afford to suffer from blackouts any longer.” She added: “Zamcelco must fix its financial losses and technical problems so that by October 2015, ‘tiene bastante electricidad na ciudad, hende cay deha canatun na escuridad pirmi cay tiene tamen quita projeccion de El Nino’,” BRAVO, Madam Mayor. You hit it on the point.

But wait a minute, do you know who are blocking or delaying the approval of 50 MW from WMPC? The RICH, SOME COUNCILORS and, of all institutions, CITY HALL. Why, mayor, why? Remember – S.P.E.C.T.R.E.