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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Alsons’ diesel plant gets ERC clearance, averts shutdown

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Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. received a provisional approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the Western Mindanao Power Corp. (WMPC), a diesel facility in Zamboanga City, thus avoiding its imminent shutdown.

“We are pleased to announce that we have received a resolution from the Energy Regulatory Commission in relation to our ancillary service procurement agreement, or ASPA, with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines,” Alsons deputy chief financial officer Philip Sagun said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

“This interim relief provides us the opportunity to implement the firm ASPA contract awarded to WMPC for dispatchable reserve, reactive power support, and black start service,” he said.

Sagun said that once clarifications are made with the ERC on certain matters pertaining to the ASPA, the WMPC could continue providing electricity, supporting the much-needed grid stability and Zamboanga Peninsula.

“We are in the process of procuring the necessary fuel to ensure the uninterrupted operation of WMPC,” he said.

WMPC warned last week the diesel plant might cease operations, causing rotating brownouts in Zamboanga City and nearby areas due to fuel constraints.

WMPC said its non-firm ASPA expired on April 25, 2024, and while NGCP awarded a new firm ASPA to WMPC in April 2023, its implementation was pending approval from the ERC.

Under a non-firm ASPA, power plants are not guaranteed to provide ancillary services to the power grid at all times.

WMPC faced P50 million in losses from January to March 2024. Power plants holding new firm ASPA contracts receive provisional authority from NGCP while power plants with non-firm ASPAs, such as WMPC, were deprioritized in the arrangement.

Alsons chairman Nicasio Alcantara said the company anticipates a continued rise in power demand, aligned with the country’s projected economic growth of 6 percent to 7 percent this year.

“We are actively enhancing our renewable energy portfolio. This includes our hydro power plant in Sarangani and a number of hydro and solar power projects that are currently in various stages of development,” said Alcantara.

Alsons is gearing up for the commercial launch of its inaugural hydro power project in Maasim, Sarangani.

The 14.5-megawatt (MW) Siguil hydro power plant already completed construction.

Two other renewable energy projects of the company are making significant progress, including an 8.8-MW hydro power plant and a 29-MW solar power project in Zamboanga del Norte.

Alsons is also developing a 42-MW hydro power project in Negros Occidental.

It also expects to start commercial operations of its 95.2-MW backup power plant in Ubay, Bohol this year.

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