December 8, 2022

Plans of rebidding the Asin hydro mini power plants under new terms of reference will be more challenging now due to the deterioration of the facilities.

The facilities have not been used since 2012 after the city government stopped operating because of the absence of a license from the Department of Energy while the same facilities remain undeveloped since the city government took over the management and operation from Hedcor in 2006.

City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente has informed the city council during the 2022 budget deliberations last Nov. 15 the new TOR would have to consider several issues about the power plants, such as unresolved ancestral land claims, compensation of land claimants, DOE issuance of a renewable energy contract to companies’ sans consent of the city government, and costing of the plants’ depreciated value.

Other issues include cost of development; shares of the city government and Tuba, Benguet; and the pending protest of the municipal government of Tuba to the National Water Resources Board concerning water rights over Asin River.

Clemente said the new TOR must have guidelines that will allow more bidders to participate, as Mayor Benjamin Magalong is currently consulting with the DOE about the appropriate TOR for Asin power plants.

Clemente was chair of the special Bids and Awards Committee when the Asin power plants were bid out.

The project for the rehabilitation and operation of plants was rebid five times before a developer met all the requirements in the TOR.

Last September, the city council terminated the city’s contract with Kaltimex because of its failure to fulfill contractual obligations based on 2015 memorandum of agreement and 2020 compromise agreement, both with the city government.

Citing a report of the Local Finance Committee, the city council committee on laws, which recommended termination of the contract said instead of earning initially from the lease of the power plants, the city government has been incurring losses for maintenance and operational costs. – Rimaliza A. Opiña