PSALM turns over Ambuklao-Binga power complex to winning bidder

10 Jul 2008

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) will formally turn over today (10 July) the 75-megawatt Ambuklao and 100-MW Binga Hydroelectric Power Complex to SN Aboitiz Power Benguet Inc. (SNAP Benguet) in simple ceremonies at the PSALM Makati office.

With an offer of USD325 million for the Benguet-based facilities, SNAP Benguet was declared the highest bidder for the Ambuklao-Binga power complex in the bidding held last 28 November 2007.

The ceremonial keys to the plants will be turned over by Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes and Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves to Aboitiz Equity Ventures Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erramon I. Aboitiz.

The country's first and second hydroelectric power plants, respectively, the Ambuklao-Binga power facilities run along the upper portion of Luzon's longest waterway, the Agno River. Binga, which is located in Itogon, Benguet, lies 19 kilometers downstream of the Ambuklao plant in the Bokod town of the province.

Construction of the Ambuklao plant was completed in December 1956. Ambuklao's three 25-MW generating units have been under preservation by the National Power Corporation since 2000. At present, the release of water from the Ambuklao Dam is being regulated for use by the Binga hydro plant.

The Binga plant consists of four 25-MW generators that were commissioned in 1960. It can operate as a base-load plant when the water level is high and as a peaking plant when the water level is low. It can also provide ancillary services.

One of the responsibilities of SNAP Benguet is to rehabilitate the Ambuklao plant and make it operational to 65 MW minimum within seven years from the date of turnover, PSALM pointed out.

SNAP Benguet will pay at least 40 percent of its bid or about USD 130 million. The entire bid amount will go to the liquidation of the National Power Corporation's debts, as specified in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, to ease the government's debt burden.

The transaction closes much earlier than the contractual deadline of 2009, thanks to the concerted efforts of PSALM and SNAP Benguet.

PSALM has successfully bid out 12 power plants, representing a 48.9% privatization level. It expects to reach the 70% privatization level as stipulated in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act by yearend to facilitate open access and retail competition in the Philippine power industry.

Strategic Communications and Partnership Division
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