Zambo business group airs concern over proposed power deal

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/21 March) – A business group has filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a motion to intervene in the hearing relative to the application of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) to purchase additional power from independent power producer Therma Marine Incorporated (TMI).

The ERC has set the public hearing on the proposed purchase of power by Zamcelco from TMI on April 1.

However, Pedro Rufo Soliven, Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. president clarified they are not opposing any plan by Zamcelco to purchase additional power from an IPP.

Soliven said they are only concerned over the amount that Zamcelco would eventually pass on to its consumers passing on to its consumers the cost of purchase.

Zamcelco project supervisor and acting general manager Jesus Castro said the proposed rate which will eventually passed on to the consumers is more or less 90 centavos per kilowatt hour based on the proposed contract between Zamcelco and TMI.

However Castro said the rate is not yet fixed and the ERC is evaluating everything to establish the right and affordable rate that TMI may charge from Zamcelco.

Meanwhile, Mayor Celso Lobregat, who personally talked with ERC Chairperson Zenaida Ducut over the phone on Monday, said the ERC will give Zamcelco a provisional authority “so the cooperative can immediately purchase power from TMI.

Lobregat said that Zamcelco, with the provisional authority, can buy power from TMI but the actual charging more or less will be dependent on the rate and will depend on the outcome of the public hearing to be held by the  ERC.

Zamcelco is buying 18 megawatts of power from TMI needed to augment the power supply in this city.

Zamboanga City will eventually experience brownouts of between four and six hours daily if no additional power will be purchased, according to Castro.

Purchasing additional power will shorten the daily brownouts, he added.

At present, Zamboanga City is experiencing three-hour daily brownouts since it consumes about 85 megawatts but is only receiving an average of 60 megawatts a day. (MindaNews)