Agus-Pulangi hydropower plants considered for privatization after rehab

PH to use China funding for Agus-Pulangui complex rehab

Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) is in discussion to rehabilitate the critical 982-MW Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants (HEPP) in 2018 with plans to set the Mindanao asset up for privatization in the same period.

This move will take advantage of Mindanao’s excess power capacity once the rehabilitation process is achieved within a few months time, PSALM Officer-in-Charge Lourdes Alzona said.

“We should start in 2018 since the rehabilitation process will take months. The process will take longer depending on the upgrades needed, which units will undergo rehab first because we can’t do it all at once,” she said.

Carlos Dominguez, PSALM Chairman and serving Finance Secretary, echoed the same sentiments due to the Agus-Pulangi’s critical condition, especially Units 6 and 7, which are the ones needing priority upgrades.

Currently, the hydropower plants supply only 40 percent of its total nameplate capacity to the Mindanao transmission grid despite being the cheapest power source in the region with sales at around P2.70 per kilowatt-hour.

The state-run agency is also considering exploring opportunities for the asset’s privatization in the near future. It has recently partnered with International Finance Corp. for the plant’s privatization plans.

“After the rehab, we can bid out its operations and management or sale of energy. We have identified a number of options,” Alzona said.

On the other hand, the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) has ordered PSALM to fast-track the study on the Agus-Pulangi’s privatization as this will be critical in JCPC’s recommendation of the Mindanao power asset, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, the hydropower plants should be privatized 10 years after the implementation of the law and as the overlooking Committee, JCPC is responsible for the directions for the facilities.