Therma Marine Inc. to refund P14.25M to Zamboanga power coop
MANILA, Philippines—The Aboitiz-led Therma Marine Inc. will refund P14.25 million to an electric cooperative in Zamboanga as soon as the Energy Regulatory Commission approves its proposed payment scheme.
This amount represented the difference between the final and provisional rates approved by the ERC covering the period from April 2012 to December 2012, according to Therma Marine.
In a statement, the Aboitiz subsidiary said the company and the Zamboanga Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) have already filed a joint manifestation before the ERC to effect the refund. In the manifestation, Therma Marine may apply the refund to the outstanding obligations of Zamcelco, whose monthly obligations stood at more than P50 million.
Zamcelco currently sources 18 MW of its electricity requirements from Therma Marine’s power barges in Mindanao, to augment the supply coming from the state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor).
The utility’s peak demand alone reaches roughly 85 MW, while the total demand of the whole Mindanao grid hovers around 1,100 MW a day. A large portion of Mindanao’s power requirements is supplied by Napocor, augmented by 200 MW of combined capacities coming from Therma Marine’s barges moored in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and Maco, Compostela Valley.
According to Therma Marine, the proposed scheme is now under ERC’s review. Once approved, the company plans to fully comply with the ERC-approved timetable.
Since January 2013, Therma Marine has already been billing its customers using the final rates approved by ERC. The company claimed to have the cheapest oil-fired power plant available in Mindanao.
Being oil-fired, the traditional role of peaking plants like Therma Marine is to provide back-up and anciliary power to the grid. But with no other capacity left to help the electric cooperatives, Therma Marine is now running almost like a baseload power plant supplying almost 24 hours of power to cooperatives like Zamcelco.
According to the Aboitiz subsidiary, demand for power has outstripped supply due to the the growing population and economy of Mindanao. The summer months have been posing challenges to the hydroelectric power plants around Lake Lanao, which supply more than half of the power needs of the island, the company added.
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