PSALM urged to allocate 15 MW to Agusan electric coop
SAN FRANCISCO, AGUSAN DEL SUR – Consumers and local officials here are calling for the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to fully allocate 15 megawatts (MW) of hydro power to the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Aselco) to mitigate the 23 MW power shortage in its service area.
Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr. called on the PSALM to allocate the 15 MW of power to Aselco, supporting the clamor by power consumers amid the skyrocketing prices of electricity, which reached as high as P18 per kilowatt hour (kWh) within the Aselco area, the highest rate in the region so far.
Earlier, the Aselco Board of Directors and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur issued separate resolutions, calling for the power allocation from PSALM to lower the price of electricity within the Aselco service area.
Aselco officials said the 15 MW additional energy supply from PSALM would at least help in mitigating the power shortage.
In the past months, the electric cooperative had relied on its purchase from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market to cover the power supply shortage.
Of its 49 MW requirement, the electric coop gets some 10 MW supply from Therma South, Inc., 10 MW from the Sarangani Energy Corp, 5 MW from Peak Power San Francisco, and 1 MW from PSALM.
After ERC terminated its 10 MW power supply agreement with San Miguel, Anselco’s power deficit ballooned to 23 MW.
The termination was based on the May 2019 Supreme Court decision on the case of Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas, Inc. against ERC requiring all applications for PSA to comply with competitive selection requirements.
Aselco only received 1 MW of renewable energy from the PSALM until Reps. Adolph Edward Plaza (Agusan del Sur, 2nd District) and Alfelito Bascug (Agusan del Sur, 1st District) lobbied to increase the allocation to 15 MW.
But the governor said the requested 15 MW renewable energy from the Agus-Pulangi hydropower plants in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon was transmitted to Agusan del Sur only from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. when energy consumption was the lowest, he said.
The Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex is owned by the government through PSALM and operated by the National Power Corp.
Antonio Mariano Almeda, the administrator of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), said he would bring the governor’s concern to Dennis Edward Dela Serna, PSALM president and chief executive officer.
“I will exert all the influence that I have to ask PSALM to meet all the peak requirements (of Aselco),” Almeda said. He said the current electricity rate was “unacceptable” to consumers.
In June, electricity rates in neighboring provinces of Caraga region were slightly lower than that of Aselco.
The Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, which covers Butuan City, charged P11.50 per kWh hour for residential consumers and P9.20 per kWh for commercial and industrial users, while the Surigao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Surseco) II which served the southern towns of Surigao del Sur charged P13.50 per kWh. Surseco I serving Surigao del Sur’s northern towns charged higher at P17.13 per kwH for residential consumers and P15.80 for commercial users.
In Surigao del Norte, the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative charged P15.40 per kWh.
Engr. Emmanuel Galarse, Aselco’s general manager, pointed out, however, that Aselco’s rate for the month of June had gone down to P16.67 per kWh for residential consumers; P15.62/ kWh for commercial users and P14.21/kWh for industrial plants because global fuel prices went down.
Bencyrus Ellorin, a consultant of Mindanao Renewable Energy Acceleration and Coordination Hub (MinReach), urged Aselco to seriously consider turning to renewable energy to build cost-effective energy. He then urged the cooperative to invest in solar energy.