EMB to hear Conal ECC application for coal-fired power plant

The hearing forms part of the environmental impact assessment to determine the effect of the proposed power plant on the environment and residents surrounding the project site.

Technical experts from the bureau and company hired by CHC have been conducting research and evaluation of the project since August last year.

CHC is again expected to give a brief presentation of the project as well as the result of the studies it has conducted along with EMB experts.

Maasim Mayor Anecito Lopez Jr. said they expect some 3,000 town residents to attend the public hearing.

Environmental groups and the church are also expected to mobilize opposition to the project.

Social action director Fr. Romeo Catedral of the Diocese of Marbel said they will hold a rally to oppose the construction of the power plant citing environment and health concerns.

CHC project manager Gregorio Gonzales said they will welcome groups and individuals opposed to the project but also appealed to them to attend the hearing inside the town gym to register their opposition officially.

He said the hearing also aims to resolve concerns from other sectors, especially the project’s impact on the environment and residents.

In a separate development, Gonzales revealed that CHC has signed a memorandum of agreement with the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) for the supply of power that will be generated by their plant.

In a press release, he said power users from the Socoteco II franchise area will save as much as 10 per cent of their current electricity bill once their plant goes operational.

“By embedding our power plant to the existing power lines of Socoteco II, we can immediately cut electricity costs as we will do away with transmission and systems loss charges,” he said.

Last year, Transco Mindanao reportedly added an average of P1.42 per kilowatt hour (kwhr) for transmission charge and another P0.60 for systems losses to the cost of electricity on top of the P3.25 generation cost, according to Gonzales. 

“If our plant is operational right now, we estimate the cost of electricity of Socoteco II to go down by as much as P0.24 per kwh saving its consumers approximately P150 million,” he claimed.

The proposed coal-fired Southern Mindanao Power Plant, to be built at a cost of P23 billion or $500 million, is expected to start generating electricity in the latter part of 2012. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews contributor)