PSALM turns over Calaca power plant to DMCIHI

04 Dec 2009

The privatization of the 600-megawatt (MW) Batangas Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant was formally closed Thursday, 03 December 2009, through a simple ceremonial turnover conducted by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation.

Before the ceremony held at its Makati City office, PSALM received USD150.79 million (USD150,790,000.00) from new owner DMCI Holdings, Inc. (DMCIHI) as its down payment for the power facility located in Calaca, Batangas. DMCIHI offered USD361,709, 000.00 for the Southern Luzon-based power plant.

The power plant will be operated by Sem-Calaca Power Corp., a new company recently established by Semirara Mining Corp., the coal mining arm of DMCIHI.

PSALM President and Chief Executive Officer Jose C. Ibazeta noted that the successful negotiated sale of the power facility last 08 July 2009 was a "turning point of the privatization program."

"By the closing of Calaca, we effectively breached the 70% requirement under the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) for the generation side," he said. "So we now have to work on the IPP (Independent power producer) side. We can achieve open access, one year after we do that."

The sale of the Calaca plant also substantially contributed to sustaining PSALM's privatization program this year, which is currently at the 81.3% mark for all its generating assets in the Luzon and Visayas grids.

Mr. Ibazeta congratulated DMCIHI's entry in the electricity sector, saying that it "certainly bolsters the confidence of the private sector in the future of the power industry."

DMCIHI President Isidro Consunji, who praised PSALM for a fair and transparent bidding process, took pride in saying that the "Calaca [power plant], as of today, will be the only coal-fired power plant in Luzon that is owned and operated by Filipinos."

"We believe that Calaca employees, who are all Filipino, are very well equipped and very much capable to make Calaca a world-class coal-fired power plant," he said.

Saying that DMCIHI will be a vital player in the electricity industry, National Power Corporation President Froilan A. Tampinco acknowledged the "openness and the receptiveness" of Sem-Calaca in recognizing the issues and concerns of the employees of National Power who, he said, "are now their employees starting today."

Mr. Tampinco said National Power would continue to support the government's power privatization program.

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