Here we go again PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 April 2016 13:19

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — Holy camote! Why do some arrogant people still don’t get it? The irritating power outages in Zamboanga is all about ZAMCELCO, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Let me explain.

ZAMCELCO purchased or has rented modular generating sets from the National Electrification Administration (NPC). While all technicalities attendant to its operation have been complied with, a problem arose. The NGCP wouldn’t allow the power generated by the gensets to enter the grid unless certain requirements were met by ZAMCELCO. The ERC has sat on the amount ZAMCELCO should additionally charge consumers based on the power that will be infused by ZAMCELCO into the grid.

Recently, however, both the NGCP and ERC agreed in an urgent meeting to grant ZAMCELCO a provisional authority to operate its gensets and enter the grid, provided certain substantive requirements related to the operation of the gensets are submitted to both entities on a later date. This information comes from a highly-reliable source. Now we know why the gensets couldn’t be put into operation. With the power inserted into the grid, our power woes may be over. Hopefully.

Come now Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar and her “Team Amarillo” questioning the power sales agreement between ZAMCELCO and San Ramon Power, Inc.  At first, the mayor wanted the contract reviewed. Then, she asked that the contract be rescinded for all the stupid and wrong reasons. She claimed that Alsons Power Group is monopolizing the power industry in Zamboanga, an allegation that is entirely FALSE. Then, the discreet became obvious. She wanted ZAMCELCO to contract power with San Miguel Corporation, for whatever reason, whose plant is located somewhere in the Davao region. No less than SMC president Ramon Ang flew to Zamboanga to make sure that the deal was done. So, ZAMCELCO has contracted power with SMC for 35 MW. I’ll rebut the mayor’s charge on power monopoly later.

The deal between ZAMCELCO and SRPI compels the latter to provide sustainable and reliable power when its coal-fired power plant in San Ramon becomes operational in 2019 for at least 25 years. This plant will be backed up by Alsons’s other plants - WMPC and the Mapalad Power Corp. which is currently supplying 18 megawatts.

Zamboanga could have gone underwater with at least 10 hours of rotating blackouts daily had not ZAMCELCO contracted power with WMPC and MPC that provide nearly 70% of Zamboanga’s electricity requirement. Says SRPI consultant Engineer Ruben Conti: “WMPC could have sold power to other distribution companies, but the company, in its desire to help Zamboanga city pursue its aggressive economic plans, gave ZAMCELCO the right to first refusal to contract power with WMPC.”

WRONG: The mayor has wrongly accused ZAMCELCO of giving Alsons the monopoly of providing power to Zamboanga. SMC will soon come in. Aside from WMPC and MPC, Aboitiz’s Therma Marine is a power provider. So are NPC and TSI. These are all power players providing electricity to ZAMCELCO. Where’s the monopoly as charged by the mayor?

RIGHT: This is what the mayor and her highly-schooled advisers should know: The SRPI power sales agreement with ZAMCELCO is the very reason why the electric cooperative secured 50 megawatts from WMPC, thereby saving the city from longer hours of blackouts.

RIGHT: Attorney Vic R. Solis who used to be a special counsel of ZAMCELCO cites the following: Article 4, Section 4.4 of the PSA binds SRPI, through its affiliate (company) WMPC, to give priority to ZAMCELCO to purchase additional capacity from WMPC situated in Sangali UPON THE EXPIRATION OF THE ENERGY CONVERSION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION and WMPC. THIS IS AN ACT OF GOODWILL ON THE PART OF SRPI.”

That agreement between NPC and WMPC expired last Dec. 12. Otravez, that is why ZAMCELCO was able to contract 50 MW from WMPC when it became a merchant plant. Is that clear enough, Ma’m Beng?