PSALM weighing decision on bidding for capacity of 210-MW SPI

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, Sept 27 (PNA) – The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) is still weighing its decision on the deferment for the bidding of the 210-MW capacity STEAG State Power Inc. (SPI) coal fired power plant in Misamis Oriental.

”They’re having board meetings, they’re discussing that, because PSALM is delivering the feedback from the (Congressional and Senate) hearings,” Department of Energy (DOE) officer-in-charge (OIC) secretary Zenaida Monsada told reporters.

She noted the Congress warned the DOE’s budget for 2016 will not be approved, if PSALM continues with the bidding process this year. PSALM is a government-owned and controlled corporation created to privatize the assets of the National Power Corp. (NAPOCOR).

The OIC said she will heed the last instruction of former Energy secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, to delay the auction until the supply stabilizes in Mindanao next year, with the entry of 2 or 3 power plants.

Mindanao’s power shortage, caused by the lack of water for its hydro power plants, has slightly improved this month as Therma South Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., has started commercial operations for its 1st 150-MW unit last Sept 18.

Petilla earlier said he does not want an increase in electricity prices as what happened after the auction of the capacity of the Mt. Apo geothermal power plant. He added the surge in prices was due to the demand, given the shortage in supply.

PSALM bared this month it will hold the auction for the power plant’s capacity on Nov 25, 2015.

PSALM also said the bidders for the capacity have fell to 6 from 12, adding it was not due to the deferment but the bidders forming joint ventures and the other firms not paying the bid documents.

Mindanao — which is mainly dependent on hydro power plants for its electricity — has been suffering from the lack of water elevation in its dams since the summer this year. (PNA)