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Friday, 17 March 2017 12:02

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA — Twice postponed, the opening of bids for an Investment Management Contract for the Zamboanga  City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) will finally take place on March 27 as enthusiastically announced by District I Rep. Celso L. Lobregat last week.

The IMC is the best thing that can happen to Zamcelco and its exasperated consumers, often infuriated by sudden power outages. The details of the contract will be known when — after the winning bidder if announced — is thrown to the special general assembly for scrutiny and, hopefully, approval. From there, granting for the sake of argument, that it is approved by majority of the members, the paper will go to the National Electrification Administration for final okay.

The IMC will streamline Zamcelco’s operations to ensure financial viability. One of the concerns here is to drastically bring down the system’s loss from a staggering 23 percent at present to as low as 9-11 percent.

Bueno!

At the moment, Zamboanga city requires at least 94 megawatts of power during peak loads. We are dependent on PSALM’s hydro plants and other independent power producers for electricity. We have, according to Zamcelco, a total of 150MW contracted power, or an excess of more than 50MW, which is more than what we require in case we need additional power.

Which brings me to the planned construction of a baseload power plant in San Ramon owned by Alsons Power Group. The construction of this coal-fired power plant has long been delayed due to protestations and disputes over the rates agreed upon  by Zamcelco and San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI). With the expected approval of the IMC, the construction of the plant will commence by the third quarter of this year and may be completed in 2019 at the earliest.

From Engineer Ben Conti, one of the consultants of SRPI, the company has started clearing operations on the plant site, leveling the hilly, grass land and cutting trees with the permission of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Last year, the plant area was fenced and clearing operations where the jetty would be will start soon. Slowly,  construction materials are being shipped in as the countdown for 2019 has begun.

The outcry for better power service will soon be heard. The IMC is the answer. Zamcelco will once again be the firm that will deliver efficient and sufficient power to its consumers. Congressman Lobregat agrees to that. So does Mayor Climaco-Salazar.