Firm invests P1B for power plant in Koronadal

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 January) — Energy firm Supreme Power Corporation is investing around P1 billion for the construction and development this year of an 11.9-megawatt (MW) bunker-fired power plant in nearby Koronadal City in South Cotabato.

Executives of Supreme Power and its partner Next Power Consortium Inc. led on Thursday the formal ground breaking of the power plant, which is planned to go on stream later this year in partnership with the South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (Socoteco 1).

Lawyer Juanita Sy, Supreme Power president, said they are targeting to complete the construction and start the operations of the plant, which will rise in a property owned by the electric cooperative in Matulas, Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City, within the next six months.

“We already completed the necessary requirements set by the Department of Energy for the construction of the plant,” she said.

Based on the company’s agreement with Socoteco 1, the power plant, which will be powered by modular generator sets from South Korea, will be embedded into the systems of the electric cooperative.

Socoteco 1, which lists a daily peak power demand of 36 MW, serves Koronadal City, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco 1 general manager, said the company will operate the plant for 15 years and will directly serve the needs of its service or franchise area.

After 15 years, he said, Supreme Power will transfer the ownership of the plant to the cooperative at no cost.

Lawyer Vince Tecson, Next Power president and chief executive officer, said the operations of the plant will bring about additional charges of 80-centavos per kilowatt-hour (kwh) to consumers of Socoteco 1.

But he said such rate will be subject to public consultations and the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

“We already applied for the issuance of a provisional authority for the rates pending the release of the ERC’s its final approval,” he said.

Tecson said their applied rate of 80-centavos per kwh is justified based on the projected costs for the operations of the plant.

“We are not allowed by law to charge more than what is allowed. We are also assuming that the rate we are proposing is acceptable to the ERC,” he said.

Tecson said they decided to start the construction of the plant ahead of the issuance of the ERC’s approval for their applied rates to show their sincerity in pursuing the project.

As a new entrant in the power industry, he said they deemed it vital to build the power plant first and prove that they are capable of running or operating a major project.

South Cotabato (2nd District) Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, who graced the ground breaking rites, lauded Socoteco 1 for pursuing the project.

“Socoteco 1 acted ahead and did not wait for another power crisis to happen. We should commend them for that,” he said.

With the entry of the project, Hernandez said they expect the area’s power situation to further stabilize and eventually usher in more growth in terms of trade and investments.

“This is a major endeavor — about a billion worth. We need more people like you here in the province,” he added. (MindaNews)