Residents urge ERC to issue PSA on coal plant project in Atimonan, Quezon

Residents urge ERC to issue PSA on coal plant project in Atimonan, Quezon

Residents of Atimonan, Quezon picketed the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Tuesday, asking the body to approve the much-delayed power supply agreement (PSA) for MGen’s Atimonan One Energy Inc. power plant.

Civil service group SMM BALTAK (Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Balubad, Lubi, Talaba at Kilait) were joined by representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs) and Atimonanin residents to express their support for the coal-fired plant project at the ERC office in Pasig City.

There is a pending PSA for the 1,200 megawatt (MW) coal plant, set to be built in Barangay Villa in downtown Atimonan. But more than a year now, the PSA remained unsigned even after the shift in the administration.

SMM BALTAK chairman and spokesperson Greg T. De Gracia said that the previous ERC officials were not appointed in the Duterte administration, thus affecting Atimonan One’s application status.

De Gracia also said that the coal plant project has become an urgent case not only in the Quezon town but the rest of the Luzon region due to the upcoming power supply shortage in the next few years.

“Nais naming magsimula na ito sa lalong madaling panahon. Malakas ang suporta naming mga residente sa proyektong ito,” he added.

The Atimonan One Energy coal project is one of the seven PSA contracts entered by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and its affiliated generation companies submitted to the Commission on April 30, 2016, in which the corresponding applications for contract approval were filed.

The other suppliers are Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC), Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc., St. Raphael Power Generation Corp., Central Luzon Premier Power Corp., Mariveles Power Generation Corp., and Global Luzon Energy Development Corp.

Meralco and its sister generators contracted a power capacity of 3,551 MW and would cover all Metro Manila, as well as industrial areas like Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal, plus Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, and Pampanga.

The call for more PSAs was brought upon by the unscheduled power outages on November 15, 2016 in Sta. Rita, San Gabriel, San Lorenzo and QPPL in Batangas, affecting Meralco-supplied areas in Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon as well as other parts of Metro Manila.

This resulted in the loss of about 1,400 to 1,600 MW of power from the grid.

Prior to the incident, the Department of Energy and ERC mandated the Distribution Utilities to conduct a competitive selection process in entering into power supply agreements, with the intent to open PSAs to competitive bidding and avoid self-negotiated generation cost.

Photo courtesy of EGCO Philippines