18 firms now interested in MERALCO power auction

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The number of power generation companies interested in joining the Manila Electric Company’s (MERALCO) competitive auction for its 1,800-megawatt (MW) power requirements has doubled to 18 from nine as of late October.

MERALCO utility economics head Lawrence Fernandez said that the Expressions of Interest (EOIs) submitted by the 18 firms offered capacity amounting to 6,050MW using various technologies, including coal, natural gas, and renewable energy.

Most of the EOIs came from familiar names in the power sector, but Fernandez added that the utility giant also received buds from companies new to the industry. The names of the participants weren’t revealed due to non-disclosure agreements.

Among the firms that publicly indicated their joining of the bidding is Atimonan One Energy, a subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corporation (MGen). MGen is MERALCO’s power generation arm. Other companies that expressed interest are Aboitiz Power Corporation, Ayala-led AC Energy, and Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corporation.

The 18 firms have until January 25, 2021 to submit their bids, which MERALCO will open only on that day. Only then would it know the particular technologies the bidders would offer. 20-year power supply agreements (PSAs) await the winning bidders.

MERALCO’s Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (TPBAC) is currently preparing for the pre-bid conference on December 17, in which representatives from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy  (DOE) were invited to observe. The ERC has declined to attend, saying it cannot participate in the process since it will review the PSAs of the winning bidders. The DOE has yet to send its list of observers. The committee is also awaiting written questions from interested bidders.

MERALCO prefers baseload plants or those that run 24/7. The facilities should be in commercial operation between January 2020 and May 2025. The scheduled outage allowance (OA) and forced OA of the plants that will offer to supply the power giant should not exceed 30 days and 15 days, respectively.

Once interested bidders have submitted their EOIs, they won’t be allowed to decrease their offered capacity, but may increase this until January 18, 2021.

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