NIA firm on 6 percent share from Tabuk hydro plan

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Cordillera office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA-CAR) said it is firm in requesting a 6-percent share of the gross sales of the power produced by the 1-megawatt mini hydropower plant built within the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS).

Engr. John Socalo, NIA-CAR regional irrigation manager, said the current 4 percent share his office is receiving from the operation of the mini-hydropower plant is way below the expected sharing scheme that is why the NIA Board decided that it will increase its supposed share to 6 percent from the gross sales.

However, the NIA-CAR official explained that there is also a need to define the term gross sales because gross sales pursuant to the definition of the energy department is the value of the sales minus the service fees due the concerned government agencies and the payment of loans which is contrary to the ordinary definition of gross sales that refers to the actual value of the sale of power to the buyer, which in this case is the Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative (KAELCO).

“We will continue to talk to the developer to bring to his attention the desire of the Board of Directors of NIA to increase the share of the agency from the operation of the mini-hydropower plant established within the UCRIS,” Socalo stressed.

The production of the mini-hydropower plant ranges from 800,000 kilowatts to 1 megawatt depending on the flow of water into the river system.

According to him, the operation of the irrigation system and the existence of the mini-hydropower power plant in the Chico river system is actually complimentary because the flow of water is being maximized before being directed to the river for other uses.

The Tabuk mini-hydropower plant started operation last February and NIA-CAR already started receiving a monthly share of P50,000 from the developer.

He expressed support to the proposed increase in the share of the agency from the operation of the mini-hydropower plant to at least 6 percent of the gross sales without deducting the amount due to the concerned government agencies and the amortization of loans so that the agency will be able to generate more funds that could be plowed back to the farmers through the implementation of development projects that will enhance the irrigation of their farms.

He said the agency is supportive of the put up of mini-hydropower plants within their national irrigation systems but the agency will make sure that it will not be shortchanged in the sharing of the revenues to be generated so that there will be an added source of income that could be used to help in improving the said systems for the overall benefit of the farmers availing of the irrigation services.

Socalo claimed there is a need for the agency to maximize the availability of abundant supply of water in the different parts of the region to help improve the irrigation of the farms thus resulting to greater productivity that will help farmers increase the potential yield of their farms.