House leader backs 1,200-MW coal-power plant in Quezon

THE minority leader of the House of Representatives is supporting the construction of a 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Atimonan town, Quezon province.

House Minority Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez of Quezon said the power plant is needed to ensure enough power supply in Quezon and nearby provinces.

“[The province of Quezon] may lose P400 million in revenues if we don’t address its very thin power supply against increasing consumption,” he said.

“There will be rotating brownouts in the absence of sufficient power plants operating to produce the required power requirements. We have to plan and start the construction of new power plants whose completion takes seven years to eight years,” Suarez said.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), through its power-generation arm, will construct a 2×600 MW  ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in Atimonan, Quezon. The project, the country’s first ultra-supercritical plant, will be undertaken by Atimonan One Energy Inc.

During the Asean 35th Senior Officials Meeting on Energy, Citizen Watch Secretary General Paco Pangalangan urged Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi to look into the delays in the approval of more than 90 power-supply agreements (PSAs) currently pending before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Also, Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza, chairman of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), also called on ERC to act on the pending PSAs.

In an earlier statement, Arranza noted the delays being encountered by several power projects that will ensure the country’s supply in the coming years.

“Energy security is a very important concern for FPI since all of our members are manufacturers that need stable and reliable supply for their operations,” Arranza said. “That is why we are concerned on the reported delays of several
projects because of the lack of PSA approvals.”

Earlier, Meralco told lawmakers there were actually more than 90 PSAs filed by different distribution utilities and electric cooperatives following the ERC Resolution restating the effectivity of the Competitive Selection Process.

Some of these PSAs were being questioned by lawmakers.

In a congressional hearing, William S. Pamintuan, Meralco first vice president and head of legal and corporate governance, said these PSAs were legally filed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the ERC.

Pamintuan said each of these PSAs had undergone a very rigorous, lengthy and, at times, contentious negotiation process with the generation companies, which actually took many months and years before these agreements were signed and filed with the ERC.

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Jovee Marie Dela Cruz is working as a reporter in the country's leading business newspaper the BusinessMirror since 2013. Ms. Dela Cruz, who is in the media industry for 8 years, is currently covering the House of Representatives. She graduated from Universidad De Manila with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008. At present, Ms. Dela Cruz is finishing up her master's degree in communication at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).