Bukidnon electric coops want Pulangi IV

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 Jan) – At present they want the National Power Corporation and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation to prioritize Bukidnon’s power demand requirement in using electricity generated from the Pulangi IV hydroelectric power plant.

But Bukidnon’s two power distribution cooperatives – First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative and the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative – want to take a shot at power generation and have trained their eyes on acquiring and operating the hydropower complex in southern Bukidnon.

The First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (Fibeco) and the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco) expressed intention to operate and manage the power complex.

“As much as possible we don’t want it to be privatized. But if there is no stopping it because of the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001), we hope we would be given the right of first refusal to acquire Pulangi IV,” Raul Alkuino, Fibeco board president told MindaNews in the sidelines of the Bukidnon Power Summit recently convened by Gov. Alex Calingasan.

Alkuino told summit participants that the plan is part of their long term goals.

He added that it is favorable for the local stakeholders to be the one to buy the plant to have a safeguard of the power supply and demand.

He said they have already started talking about the plan with Energy Secretary Rene Almendras but nothing is in the drawing board yet.

Alkuino cited a proposal to pursue a capital buildup to prepare for the buyout, with the bidding for Pulangi IV set to be held in 2012.

He said they are eyeing a two-year P200-million capital buildup, which would mean additional 50 centavos, at least, per kilowatt-hour to the consumer’s electric bill.

He said they need to meet with a multisectoral body composed of all stakeholders to discuss the prospects.

Fibeco and Buseco have also formed a foundation that they will task to implement their plan to be the firm to dredge the Pulangi River from silts.

“The NPC’s desiltation project did not work out,” he said.

He added that silt, not the El Niño phenomenon, reduced the capacity of the Pulangi power plant.

The group plans to build Bukidnon’s brick industry made of silts from the Pulangi to be used in a parallel housing project using only their silt bricks.

Alkuino said the plan will go side by side with Fibeco’s project to build Pulangi V.

“It’s a separate plan and it’s still there,” he said. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)