>Should We Sell National Power Corporation Plant?

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By Kit Bagaipo
City Mayor Dan Lim yesterday declared he will be filing a complaint at the Regional Trial Court against the bidding and sale of the Bohol power diesel plant by the National Power Corporation (NPC).
Speaking during his weekly “Mayor’s Report” over dyRD, Lim said he has taken the cudgels for power consumers in starting a campaign to stop the sale that will result in the escalation of electricity rates.
“The sale of our power plant to private groups must be stopped,” the mayor stressed as he called for unity in the drive against the sale.
The NPC through the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) has put up for bidding the 22-megawatt Bohol Diesel Plant in Dampas. 
Mayor Lim said that if the plant is sold, “the power rate in Bohol will double.”
He said that if the power generation is already handled by the private sector, there will no longer be government subsidy on the cost of power.
The present power requirement of the province is being served by Bohol Electric Cooperatives (Boheco) I and II and the Bohol Light Corporation Inc. (BLCI) which in turn purchase power from the NPC.
A comparative schedule of power rates provided by the mayor to the Chronicle showed that NPC, which owns both the Leyte Geothermal and the Bohol diesel plants which are its power sources, sells power to the cooperatives and BLCI at P2.8679 per kilowatt hour (Kwh) as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
BLCI is selling electricity at about P7.50 per Kwh after transmission charges, franchise and benefits to host communities, adjustments, overhead and profit.
The ERC-approved NPC generation charge is much lower than the true cost of the power generated by the NPC Bohol diesel plant which uses the expensive bunker and diesel fuels.
“Considering that the price of crude oil as of September 18 is at US$91.54, NPC’s actual cost of producing power is about P10.15 Kwh,” the mayor reasoned. 
NPC is able to sell its power at P2.8679 Kwh since it has large coal plants elsewhere in the country that run on cheaper fuel to subsidize its diesel plants.
Lim revealed that PSALM has already advertised its invitation to bid last September 3 to 5 for both the 146.5 megawatt Panay diesel power plant and the 22-megawatt Bohol diesel power plant on an “as is where is” basis.
“If the Dampas diesel plant is sold to the private sector, Boholano power consumers will no longer avail of subsidized cost of power from NPC,” Lim warned.
The mayor said that with the high cost of crude oil and the margin of profit, the power rate will “soar to the sky”.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod on Friday likewise sponsored a resolution urging the NPC and PSALM to defer the bidding of the Dampas diesel plant.

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