Seven firms are vying to bag the Php462 million Operation and Maintenance Service Contract (OMSC) for the 165-megawatt (MW) Casecnan Hydroelectric Power Plant (CHPP) in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
Familiar names among the bidders include Lopez-led First Gen Hydro Power Corporation (FGPHC), SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP)-Magat, and KEPCO KPS Carabao Corporation.
FGPHC operates the Aya and Masiway hydroelectric plants near the Pantabangan Dam. SNAP-Magat owns the Magat hydro plant on the Isabela-Ifugao border, while KEPCO is the operator of the Ilijan gas-fired power plant in Batangas City.
Other names in the list are Soosan ENS Co. Ltd., China Energy Engineering Group Heilongjiang Energy Engineering Co., Ltd., Marine-Power Industry Asia Pacific Corporation, and Atdinum Energy, Inc.
The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), which currently owns Casecnan, said the bids will be opened on October 12.
The OMSC will begin on November 26 and will be valid for one year, while PSALM is working on Casecnan’s privatization. This will give time for the winning bidder to mobilize its personnel in preparation for the actual operation and maintenance beginning December 12.
Earlier this month, PSALM moved to immediately acquire the entire Casecnan’s OMSC, which includes its irrigation aspect, to ensure its continuous operation given that the build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement between the government and CE Casecnan Water and Energy Co. Inc. (CEWEC) ends on December 11.
Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) mandates that the entire Casecnan must be privatized by next year. This prompted the government to privatize Casecnan first over the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan hydropower facility, which is the reverse of the original plan.
PSALM said the Php462 million budget allocation for the contract would be sourced from the government-owned firm’s 2021 and 2022 corporate operating budgets.
CEWEC developed the Casecnan hydro plant in the 1990s under the BOT agreement. The entire Casecnan facility itself, meanwhile, is co-owned by PSALM and the National Irrigation Administration.
“The procurement of an O&M (operations and maintenance) operator will ensure the continuous generation of energy as well as the uninterrupted irrigation service of the Casecnan Project upon Casecnan’s turnover from the CEWEC to the government on [December 11],” PSALM President and CEO Irene Besido-Garcia said in a statement.