Bidding for Magat hydro plant set

26 Oct 2006

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) is scheduled to bid out the 360-megawatt Magat Hydroelectric Power Plant before the year ends.

PSALM released last 19 October 2006 the draft transaction documents of the Isabela-based plant. Prospective bidders have until 02 November 2006 to submit their comments. The pre-bid conference on the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Agreement with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will be held on 08 November 2006.

PSALM Vice President for Asset Management and Electricity Trading Froilan A. Tampinco said PSALM would only entertain questions and clarifications on the draft of the O&M Agreement during the pre-bid conference. Representatives of NIA will also be present to answer and comment on any issues that may be raised by bidders. The final transaction documents will be released early December.

The country's biggest dam facility that combines irrigation, flood control and power supply, Magat has the largest generating capacity among the hydroelectric power plants currently operating. The multipurpose dam complex is used primarily for irrigation, with power generation as its secondary function. The plant uses water from the Magat River to produce power.

Located in Barangay Aguinaldo, Ramon, in Isabela approximately 350 kilometers northeast of Manila, the Magat plant consists of four generating units with a capacity of 90 MW each. The facility can accommodate two additional units for expansion.

The plant features a conventional earth-and-rockfill dam, a reservoir with an area covering 117 square kilometers, and a four-story powerhouse that houses the turbines, generators, auxiliaries, control room, maintenance facilities and administrative offices.

The construction and operation of the Magat plant have significantly benefited the host community, particularly in terms of improving the local economy. Major roads were built to connect the municipalities and improve access of the far-flung communities to the town centers. The infrastructure improvements have also considerably reduced the time for transporting various produce to their respective markets.

The hydroelectric power complex has likewise spawned a number of livelihood activities, including breeding and harvesting fish such as "tilapia" in fish pens erected in certain areas of the dam.

To ensure the successful privatization of the Magat plant, PSALM is currently addressing issues affecting the facility. "We expect to complete the O&M Agreement for Magat with NIA before the bidding date," Mr. Tampinco said.

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