Asin bidder seeks city’s aid v.s rival

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BAGUIO CITY  – The winning bidder of the operation of the three city-owned Asin minihydro power plants wants the city government to demand Goldlink Global Energy Corporation to cease and desist on all on-going undertakings relative to their three service contracts upstream because of its projected serious negative effect to the subsequent full operation of the city’s power plants in the future.
Engr. Urist T. Awal, project manager for Baguio Asin hydro plants of Kaltimex Energy Philippines, Inc., said if action is not taken by Goldlink to cease and desist immediately, the city government should take the necessary actions against the same in order to guarantee that the operation of the three Asin hydro plants will not result to serious financial losses in the future.
Kaltimex requested the city government to communicate with the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to stop the issuance of the mandatory certificate pre-condition until such time that the Department of Energy (DOE) have finally issued a cancellation of the awarded service contract to Glodlink.
When the contract of lease between the city government and the Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR) expired, the privatization and rehabilitation of the city-owned hydro power plants were subjected for public bidding where Kaltimex Energy Philippines came out as the winner.
It can be recalled that on March 31, 2015, the DOE issued service contracts to Goldlink Global Energy Corporation to operate the Tadiangan, Nangalisan and Sallapan hydro power projects.
According to the Kaltimex official, the proposed intakes of the awarded hydroelectric power projects are reportedly positioned upstream of the existing Baguio Asin hydro power plants and will significantly affect the volume of water going into the existing facilities when completed.
In this scenario, Awal pointed out the memorandum of agreement by and between the city government specifying at least 8 megawatts in aggregated upgraded capacity cannot be easily attained.
Consequently, he added the projected annual energy will not be actually realized and will bring about huge financial losses to Kaltimex.
“Kaltimex Energy Philippines appreciates the city government’s continuous support to the rehabilitation of the Baguio Asin hydro plants As everyone awaits for the confirmation by the city council of the memorandum of agreement by and between the city government and Kaltimex, be it known that Kaltimex is currently processing the issuance of the permit to operate business from the municipality of Tuba,” Awal said.
Currently, Kaltimex is in possession of a business clearance from barangay Nangalisan, police clearance, sanitary permit to operate, fire safety inspection certificate and community tax certificate.
On the other hand, Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentres required the company to secure a barangay endorsement interposing no objection to the operations of the Baguio Asin hyro project.
Awal cited one of the issues delaying the implementation of the rehabilitation of the power plants is the unpaid rental issues between the city government and the indigenous peoples for the period 2006-2012 when the city operated the facility, citing that Kaltimex was never a party to such agreement, thus, it should not be burdened by such unpaid rentals that must be discussed between the city and the affected indigenous peoples.
“If this standoff will continue, Kaltimex will incur irreversible economic losses and will be obliged to petition the city government to consider voiding the first year of lease and may even include the send year depending on the outcome of the city government’s resolving the lot rental issue,”Awal said.
Sometime in October 2012, the DOE stopped the operation of the city-owned Asin hydro power plants because of its failure to secure the required certificate of compliance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and for nearly three years now, the plants had been non-operational that resulted to nearly P100 million lost income for the local government for the three-year period.
Baguio City is the only local government in the country that owns hydro power plants which could be utilized as one of the sources of income to sustain its delivery of services to the people.
By Dexter A. See

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