Meralco eyes power generation investment in Mindanao, says MVP

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews/15 June)—The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is eyeing investment in power generation in Mindanao to help ease the island’s power problem.

In a press conference Friday, Pangilinan said they are in talks with a Mindanao-based power generation company for a possible joint venture in operating a coal-fired power plant.

“We’re aware of the brownouts…. and we’d like to be part of the solution with regard to the power situation in Mindanao,” Pangilinan told reporters shortly after the annual stockholders’ meeting of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., which he chairs.

Pangilinan said that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which he also chairs, is interested to invest in power generation in Mindanao.

He noted that Meralco, the country’s largest electric distribution utility, is willing to place its money to help Mindanao achieve stable power supply in the coming years.

There are at least two coal plant projects in Mindanao currently under construction, one in Davao City by the Aboitiz Power Corp. and the other in Maasim, Sarangani by the Sarangani Energy Corp. of the Alcantara Group.

Steag State Power, Inc. in Misamis Oriental operates the only existing coal-fired power plant in the island that has a capacity of 210 megawatts.

Pangilinan did not identify the Mindanao-based power generation company his group is talking with.

However, MindaNews was able to confirm that Pangilinan’s group is talking with the Alcantara Group.

“We have received many offers both [from] local and foreign groups who are interested in taking an equity position in our power projects and in ACR (Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc.)…And yes, the MVP group is one of them,” Alcantara said in a text message forwarded by one of his senior executives.

ACR is the publicly-listed company of the Alcantara Group of Companies while MVP is Pangilinan’s initials.

The Alcantara Group operates the 100-megawatt (MW) Western Mindanao Power Corp. in Zamboanga City, the 55-MW Southern Philippines Power Corp. in Alabel, Sarangani and the recently acquired 102-MW Mapalad Power Corp. in Iligan City. These are all fuel-fed plants.

On Saturday, Mindanao has a power supply surplus of 152 MW, according to the website of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippine.

NGCP, the private operator of the country’s power transmission system, placed the supply in the Mindanao grid at 1,373 MW with the peak load at 1,221 MW.

Months prior to the May 13 elections, several parts of Mindanao suffered daily rotating brownouts lasting up to eight hours in some areas due to the reduced generation capacity of the hydroelectric plants operated by the state-owned National Power Corp. allegedly due to the dams’ declining water level. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)