Salda intervenes in HEDCOR, landowners rift

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La Trinidad, Benguet– The timely intervention of Mayor Romeo K. Salda defused the brewing tension between the management of the Aboitiz-owned Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR), Inc. and more than twenty landowners that nearly caused the stoppage of operation of the company’s 19-megawatt Bineng Hydroelectric Power Plant that was recently commissioned.

Mayor Salda took the initiative of bringing the feuding parties together to discuss the appropriate solutions to the identified problems of unpaid works by the landowners to prevent them from shutting down the operation of one of the sources of renewable energy in the Luzon grid.

“We are elated we brought the parties together to thresh out the appropriate solutions to the problem on unpaid works.  There will always be solutions to problems that is why we intervened right in time to prevent the situation in the area from going out of control,” Salda stressed.

Earlier, the affected landowners threatened to barricade the entrance of the Bineng hydro plant and stop its operation as a show of protest on the company’s alleged failure to pay the works they were told to implement that facilitated the eventual operation of the plant.

Salda stated it was a simple miscommunication on the part of both parties which was immediately addressed by the concerned officers and that the agreement reached during the meeting was for the good of everyone concerned.

During the construction of the Bineng hydro power plant, the affected landowners were requested to work on some projects within their properties as part of their compensation for allowing their lands to be affected by the construction and eventual operation of the renewable energy plant.

However, the land owners were not told that the payment of their completed works will take some time considering as the company will have to provide for the funds to be used to compensate them as the same will have to pass through the rigors of budgeting by the company’s finance officers.

Because it took more than six months and still counting for their billings to be settled without any committed time frame, the affected landowners started threatening the company that they will stage a barricade in the entrance of the hydro power plant and shut down its operation to compel them to pay the company’s unsettled obligation to them.

Salda disclosed that as part of the agreement, HEDCOR issued to the affected land owners post-dated checks indicating the amount of their unpaid works to help in defusing the brewing tension and for them to have a peace of mind while funds to cover the issued post-dated checks are being worked out to eventually settle the problem so that it will not have a serious negative impact to the continuous operation of the newly commissioned power plant in the municipality.

HEDCOR is one of the renewable energy companies operating in the province wherein the latest plant that it commissioned was its rehabilitated and upgraded 19-megawatt Bineng plant serving some 19,000 homes in the different municipalities around it.