The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is opposed to the privatization of the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Complex (APHC) that aims to lower power costs and stabilize electric supply in Northern Mindanao.
MinDA chairman Sec. Emmanuel Piñol said it should have been best left in the hands of the government. He added that the APHC is needed not just to tame future supply volatilities, but also to continue fulfilling its mandate of serving the marginalized areas.
APHC is currently owned by Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) and is operated by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). It was initially excluded from privatization for at least ten years following the enactment of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). PSALM and NAPOCOR are government-run firms.
Based on data from the Department of Energy, peak demand in the Mindanao Grid stood at 1,928 megawatts (MW) while capacity reached 2,780MW.
Instead of privatizing APHC, MinDA is pushing for the development of more renewable energy projects in the region.
Piñol emphasized that Mindanao’s energy is a crucial factor in its overall socio-economic development of the island. He wants to make sure that power supply is reliable and stable so it can support economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Finance back in May announced that the APHC’s rehabilitation would push through after it received financing of around Php33.4 million financing from the World Bank. Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez has been pushing for the rehabilitation since 2017.
The 982MW APHC is considered one of Mindanao power industry’s crown jewels and among the government’s remaining power assets. It consists of six cascading power plants which use the water from Lake Lanao in Marawi City, streaming through the Agus River, down to Maria Cristina Falls (left photo above) in Iligan City. APHC also includes the Pulangi hydroelectric plant in Maramag, Bukidnon.