The Mindanao Development Authority said it is opposing the privatization of the Agus-Pulangui Hydroelectric Complex in Northern Mindanao to reduce power costs while ensuring adequate supply.
MinDA issued the statement after the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee assured consumers and stakeholders in the region of a stable and reliable power supply.
“While our power supply is considered to be stable, we continue to pursue measures and approaches to support expected rise in the demand for power while keeping energy rates cost-effective as the economy recovers from the pandemic, and industries reset operations to pre-COVID levels,” MinDA chairman Emmanuel Piñol said in a statement.
The Agus-Pulangi hydropower projects consists of seven hydroelectric power plants owned by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and operated by the National Power Corp.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has been pushing for the rehabilitation of 728-megawatt Agus-Pulangui hydropower assets in northern Mindanao. The World Bank in April this year approved the financing for the project’s feasibility study and tender documents.
Piñol said that while Luzon suffers from rotational brownouts because of insufficient power supply, Mindanao enjoys a surplus of 825 megawatts.
Based on the daily monitoring of the Department of Energy, the Mindanao grid as of June 2 reached a peak demand of 1,928 MW, with an available capacity of 2,780 MW, resulting in a gross reserve or supply excess of 852 MW.
Piñol said MinDA wanted the government to keep the ownership and control of the state-owned Agus-Pulangi hydro complex.
“MinDA’s position is against the privatization of Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Complex, which is deemed best left in the hands of the government but defining its role in an era of market competition. We need these assets to not just tame future supply volatilities but also continue fulfilling its obligation to serve especially the marginalized areas,” Piñol said.
He said Mindanao’s energy is a crucial factor in the overall socio-economic development of the island, making sure that supply is reliable and stable to support economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic and an expected rise in demand when industries return to pre-COVID operational levels.
MinDA is also pushing for the development of more renewable energy sources, he said.
MPMC is co-chaired by MinDA and the Department of Energy, with members that include the Energy Regulation Commission, National Power Corp. National Electrification Administration, Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Mindanao Power Electric Alliance and the National Transmission Corp.