Mayor wants operation of Asin plants a flagship project

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BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong wants an operating city-owned Asin minihydro power plants as one of the flagship projects of the city government maximizing the potentials of the plants in providing added income to the city.

The city chief executive recently made representations with the energy department on the city government’s position on the present status of the city-owned power generation plants to ensure that the city will be able to benefit from the eventual operation of the said plants mothballed for over 6 years now.

He said energy officials assured him the pending cases involving the city government and Global Goldlink Energy Philippines will be resolved within three weeks before the formal issuance of the required renewable energy service contract in favour of the city, thus, what will be left for the city to address is the contract with Kaltimex Energy Philippines.

Further, he requested the City Legal Office to recommend what is best action to take on the matter of the city government’s  contract with Kaltimex whose judicial restitution is now pending before a local court.

The city government is studying the most appropriate action to take to ensure the city-owned power generation plants will be operational the soonest.

Magalong also directed those in charge of the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants to facilitate the immediate transfer of the task declaration of the units of equipment of the plants to the local government which are still under the Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR) that previously operated the same.

The city government took from HEDCOR the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants after the lapse of the 25-year contract entered into by the parties in 1981.

From 2006 to October 2012, the city government operated the power plants until it was issued a cease-and-desist order by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) because of the lack of the certificate of compliance from the regulating agency.

Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan said the City Council will leave the matter to the sound discretion of Mayor Magalong and will support with legislative action whatever direction he will take.

Baguio city is the only local government in the country that owns power generation plants, such as the Asin minihydro plants located within the jurisdiction of Tuba, Benguet.

The city government wants to ensure all the pertinent documents shall have been complied by the winning developer of the power generation plants before the same will be operational to prevent legal impediment that may arise.

The rehabilitation and operation of the power plants was bidded out by the city sometime in 2014 with Kaltimex winning and being awarded the contract in 2015 but it took the City Council over a year to confirm the required memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the said project

By Dexter A. See

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