• First Gen scales up retail supply business

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    Lopez-led First Gen Corp. is scaling up its retail electricity suppliers (RES) business to attract more customers in renewable energy (RE).

    “It was done through our First Gen Energy Solutions, our RES,” First Gen President and COO Francis Giles B. Puno said.

    “What we did is we marketed and focused on the output of geothermal power plants,” he said.

    “We had to target many enlightened customers to go to renewable energy and geothermal—predictable base load and, at the same time, cost competitive versus coal,” Puno said.

    To sell electricity to contestable customers at competitive rates, retail suppliers directly negotiate with power-generation companies on wholesale basis.

    First Gen has been scaling up its RES business as market deregulation opens access to more customers, a situation that makes the role of RES more important, Puno said.

    “We have had to increase the size of our RES to be able to go out and visit potential customers. Grow in size, meaning grow our people in RES because there is already capacity and volume,” he said.

    The Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) is a key provision of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

    First Gen is still working on contracting 200 megawatts (MW) from the 420 MW San Gabriel Flex Plant this year.

    “Our expectation is that it should have happened last year, unfortunately we under delivered on that perspective, but we feel that we should be able to contract it this year,” Puno said.

    “The issue goes back to how open access is open access The more open access it is, then customers know that they now have to choose,” he said.

    “They have a choice to buy power at San Gabriel at cost competitive rates even on a baseload basis. So we think that it’s good for us,” he added.

    First Gen Chairman and CEO Federico R. Lopez said San Gabriel is actually very competitive.

    “If there are customers out there, willing to avail of open access, we’d sign them up and they can sign up at much cheaper rates than what they are getting today,” Lopez said.

    “It’s much cheaper and it has 414 MW. So if open access is really open, we are ready to serve,” he added.

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