Surigao provincial board sets hearing on ‘overpriced’ generator sets

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April)—An expert is set to appear before the provincial board on Monday as a resource person on the alleged overpriced modular generator sets that will be purchased by the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Surneco),

Board member Myrna Romarate said they invited Engr. Roberto Lozada, who earlier told radio stations here that the P205 million approved by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for the purchase of five units of modular generator sets is too much.

Engr. Narcisco I. Caliao, Jr., Surneco general manager, has rebutted Lozada’s claim,
saying the bidding process is still on going.

Only two of the five bidders qualified in the bidding process, Surneco said.

MindaNews learned that Surneco conducted a bidding on five units of diesel-fired modular generator sets on March 18, 2014. Each generator set has a capacity of two megawatts (MW) with an approved total budget of P205 million from NEA, funded by the P4 billion Malampaya Funds.

Lozada said a two-MW generator set can be bought at P21.1 million (Cummins Power brand), including the taxes and installation, while the Monark Caterpillar brand costs P23.8 million.

Surneco said that once the generator sets would start working, consumers will pay an additional P1.30 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

The current rate is P5.05 per kWh.

Lozada is a mechanical engineering fellow and a member of the Institute of Engineers in Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

He was trained in Japan on lithium bromide absorption chiller, coal fired boilers, steam turbines, centrifugal pumps, diesel power plants, process instrumentation, electrical controls and energy conservation.

Romarate said they also invited Surneco to attend the meeting.

“The proposed amount of [at least] P200 million for the purchase of generator sets is now tainted with a cloud of doubt after Engr. Roberto Lozada said that this huge amount is 100% overpriced. The estimated price of the generator sets is worth P100 million pesos only. That pronouncement
of Lozada drew a strong reaction from the people of Surigao del Norte and Surigao City who are member consumers of the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative,” Romarate said.

“I believe Engr. Lozada has the right to tell the people of Surigao because he is not only an expert on this matter but also a Surigaonon whose heart and sentiments are for the Surigaonon,” Romarate said.

Surneco members-consumers continue to experience a five-hour daily rotational brownouts.

The electric utility has a power supply deficit of about 10 MW, with the demand standing at 28 MW. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)