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Proposed coal plant seen to cut Saranggani power rates

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 [ philstar.com ]


Alcantara-led Conal Holdings Corp. (CHC) said its proposed coal-fired power plant in Saranggani will bring down electricity rates in the province, a company official said.

Gregorio Gonzales Jr., CHC project manager, said the construction of the company’s 200-megawatt coal plant within the franchise area of South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) will generate substantial savings for consumers.

“By stationing our power plant inside the Socoteco II franchise area, we can eliminate the transmission charge which averaged P1.42 per kilowatt hour in 2008,” he said.

CHC, a joint venture between the Alcantara group and Thailand’s EGKO, is acquiring necessary permits for the construction of the clean coal power plant in Maasim town.

Socoteco II, on the other hand, holds the franchise for power distribution in Sarangani, General Santos City, and some parts of South Cotabato.

Both have entered into a memorandum of agreement for the supply of 100-megawatts of electricity that will be generated by the Alcantara-led power firm.

The two parties will soon negotiate for the terms and conditions and pricing scheme that, in turn, will have to be submitted to the Energy Regulatory Commission for approval.

Gonzales said consumers from the Socoteco II franchise area will save as much as P0.95 per kilowatt hour once its power station is commissioned by the last quarter of 2012, at the earliest.

He said the cost of electricity could further go down by as much as P0.60 per kilowatt hour as systems losses will be reduced to negligible levels because of the proximity of the proposed plant to Socoteco II’s service area.

In a presentation made before the Sangguniang Panlungsod of General Santos City early this month, Joseph Nocos, CHC vice president, said cheaper cost of power could save a medium-sized cold storage plant as much as P800,000 per year.

Based on their study, Alson Aqua Corp. could save as much as P3 million a year given their proposed pricing scheme.

In addition to helping lower rates in the region, Gonzales said the proposed P20-billion coal plant will address the looming shortage of power supply in Mindanao.

Generated capacity of the Mindanao grid is pegged at 1,510 megawatts but increased demand has put a strain on its reserve capacity.

Industry sources said the Mindanao grid is operating at less than the industry standard of 15-percent reserve capacity.-- Euan Paulo C. AƱonuevo

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