GMA to coal power plant owner: increase production

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said President Arroyo instructed him to ask State Power, Inc. to increase its production capacity to satisfy Mindanao’s energy requirement, which is increasing by six percent annually.

“The government will just give assurance to State Power that their future investments will have fair rate of return,” Lotilla said.

He said there is no major power plant under construction or at the drawing board for Mindanao in the next five years.

Lotilla said the plan of MG Mining and Energy Corporation to construct a coal plant in Sultan Kudarat is still under discussion and not even on the planning stage yet. He said it could take 10 years for the project to push through.

“What will happen to Mindanao if a new factory that requires high energy input is set up?” he said.

Lotilla said increasing the output of Mindanao Power Plant would need the approval of the bicameral energy committee of Congress so that it will not violate the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or EPIRA Law.

Under the EPIRA law, state-owned National Power Corporation cannot buy electricity from independent power producers unless authorized by Congress.

Lotilla said he believes the proposal would be given a green light by the congressional energy committees since the coal plant is already operational.

“It is cheaper to install new turbines than to build new plants,”  he said.

The Mindanao Power Plant was inaugurated last Monday. (Froilan O. Gallardo/MindaNews)