Palawan power firm told green energy deal questionableBy Redempto D. Anda
Inquirer Southern Luzon
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Department of Energy (DOE) has intervened in the selection by the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) of a new supplier that would provide the cooperative an additional source of power in the face of a rapidly increasing demand for electricity in mainland Palawan.
Meeting with Paleco officials last Monday to help fast-track the bidding process delayed by a lawsuit filed by a prospective company bidder, the DOE advised the cooperative against entertaining proposals from power companies offering renewable energy technology that have no valid operating contracts from the department.
“They need to be aware of (renewable energy) speculators who will not be able to deliver if they have no operating contract with us,” said DOE counsel Marissa Cerrezo who made the disclosure to the Inquirer following a closed-door meeting with the Paleco board of directors.
The DOE has required companies offering renewable energy technology to first secure an operating contract.
Private firm Power One Corp. earlier sued Paleco, claiming that its bidding process was disadvantageous to renewable energy producers.
A Regional Trial Court held the bidding in abeyance for over two months while hearing the case, further delaying Paleco’s search for a new supplier.
Paleco sources claimed that some officers of the cooperative are inclined to award the contract to Power One Corp.
Power One, which reportedly plans to set up a biomass-fired power plant, recently welcomed the changes in composition of the Paleco board and said it would participate in the bidding.
“Power One’s hope is that the recent changes in the Paleco board would lead to holding a fair and more competitive bidding and with urgency so that Paleco’s future (power) requirements can be met,” the company said in an e-mail to the Inquirer.
The company also denied accusations it was manipulating the cooperative to secure a power supply contract and accused some Paleco officials of “manipulating the bid to favor coal power … which is bad for the environment of Palawan.”
“They are scaring the officials and people of Palawan to make Power One look bad,” the company added.
Cerrezo, however, said Power One has no operating contract with the DOE to qualify as a legitimate supplier of renewable energy.
“It’s Paleco’s call if they will award a contract to a company that does not have an operating contract with us. But without that contract, they cannot operate,” Cerrezo said.