Alcantara Group awaits CoA review for Iligan plant acquisition

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 August) — The acquisition of the Iligan diesel-fired power plant by the Alcantara Group has not been finalized since the Commission on Audit (CoA) is still conducting a procedural review for the ownership transfer, a company official said over the weekend.

The Mapalad Power Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly listed Alsons Consolidated Resources (ACR), has been awarded the right to reacquire the 102-megawatt Iligan diesel power plant.

Oscar Contreras, Alsons Power Business Unit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said the CoA is thoroughly reviewing the pertinent documents for the transfer of the plant that would help boost power supply in the island.

“We are hopeful that the review will be completed at the soonest time possible in order for the Iligan plant to be rehabilitated and come on-stream to help ease the power situation in Mindanao, which has recently deteriorated again,” he told MindaNews.

Until the CoA completes the review, ownership of the Iligan diesel plant remains with the Iligan city government.

Contreras said they would only pay the acquisition cost to the local government unit after the CoA could complete the review.

The Alcantara Group originally operated the Iligan diesel power plant, formerly the Northern Mindanao Power Plant, through the build-operate-transfer scheme. The company turned the power plant to the government-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) in 2003.

The acquisition cost of the plant from the Iligan City government was pegged at P300 million but P650 million more will be needed to rehabilitated the facility, earlier said Tirso Santillan, Jr., ACR executive vice president.

It would take about six months to rehabilitate the plant, he said.

The Iligan local government earlier put the power plant in auction after the state-owned Napocor reportedly failed to settle the real property tax due to the city.

Power supply in Mindanao has been on the decline with industry players blaming it on generation deficiency as well as growing demand.

Load curtailment has been implemented in several areas in the island due to lack of supply since the start of this year.

The Napocor, which runs the hydroelectric power plants in the island that produce half of its supply, has cut the allocation to some electric distributors, such as the cooperatives in the cities of General Santos and Koronadal.

To fill the gap, these electric cooperatives bought supplies from Therma Marine, Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp.

On Monday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the private operator of the country’s transmission network, placed the supply shortfall at 270 megawatts (MW) in Mindanao.

NGCP said that demand would peak at 1,218 MW but actual capacity was only at 948 MW. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)