MORE than four years after it won the bidding for the privatization of Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEPP), Korea Water Resources Corp. (K-Water) on Friday finally took over the operations of the 218-megawatt (MW) facility in Bulacan.
Emmanuel Ledesma Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), said that government handed the hydro plant to K-Water after it completed payment for the privatized facility amounting to $441 million or P19.662 billion.
“K-Water already deposited the amount to PSALM this morning. With K-Water’s payment of the purchase price, government can finally close the highly anticipated sale of the Angat HEPP,” Ledesma told reporters after the formal turnover ceremony in Makati City.
K-Water won the bidding conducted by PSALM for the Angat HEPP on April 28, 2010 but the transaction was shelved after the Supreme Court (SC) suspended the asset sale by issuing a status quo ante order on May 24, 2010.
This after a complaint filed by petitioner Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through IDEALS Inc., questioning the legality of PSALM’s conduct of the bid.
Among the five other bidders bested by K-Water were First Gen Northern Energy Corp. ($365 million); San Miguel Corp. ($312.50 million); SN-Aboitiz Power Pangasinan Inc. ($256 million); Trans-Asia Oil & Energy Development Corp. ($237 million); and DMCI Power Corp. ($188.89 million).
However, on October 0, 2012, the SC upheld the legality and validity of the conduct of the said bidding process and the subsequent issuance of a Notice of Award to K-Water.
Despite a Motion for Partial Reconsideration lodged by IDEALS Inc. following the decision, the SC en banc upheld its decision and resolved to deny the motion “with finality” on November 13, 2012.
With the SC clearance, PSALM issued the Certificate of Effectivity of the Asset Purchase Agreement to K-Water on September 2, 2013, effectively sealing the sale.
K-Water, for its part, obliged and posted the required performance bond worth $8.82 million on September 12, 2013.
Located in San Lorenzo, Norzagaray in Bulacan, the Angat HEPP consists of four main hydroelectric units, each with a 50-MW capacity. The units were commissioned between 1967 and 1968.
To augment its operation, the plant uses five auxiliary units with a total capacity of 46 MW.
The 18-MW Auxiliary Units 1, 2 and 3 are part of the sale, while the 28-MW Auxiliary Units 4 and 5, which are owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, were not part of the bidding.
“The sale merely involves the power plant component of the Angat Dam,” Ledesma explained.
At the same time, Ledesma said the privatization of the Angat HEPP will not affect the water supply from the Angat reservoir as the Angat dam remains the property of the Philippine government.
For his part, Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Hyuk said the project will solve some of the energy concerns of the country, especially with the projected difficulties in power generation in 2015.
“I feel proud that a major Korean entity is playing a crucial role in the effort of the Philippines to maintain its power infrastructure,” Lee said.