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PRIVATIZATION OF HYDROPOWER PLANT NEXT

Korean firm ‘secures’ Casecnan deal with lowest bid

/ 05:16 AM October 16, 2021

The government is yet another step closer to the privatization of the 165-megawatt Casecnan hydropower plant in Nueva Ecija as Korean firm Soosan ENS Co. Ltd. is cued for a contract to operate and maintain the facility in the interim.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) said in a statement Soosan ENS last Oct. 12 offered to take on the job for about P253 million.

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The state firm said the Korean firm’s bid, which is still subject to postqualification, was “substantially lower” than Psalm’s budget of P462 million.

Soosan ENS bested two rivals, Norwegian-Filipino joint venture SN Aboitiz Power-Magat Inc., which asked for P251.6 million, and compatriot KEPCO KPS Philippines Corp., which asked for P391.5 million.

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The postqualification process ensures that the best bidder will meet all the financial and legal requirements for the contract.

If Soosan ENS passes, the company will be given sufficient lead time to familiarize itself with the operations of the hydroplant before the contract takes effect on Nov. 26.

Psalm has engaged Soosan ENS several times previously, particularly for the operation and maintenance of the 650-MW Malaya thermal power plant in Rizal province.

The privatization of the Malaya plant was completed earlier this year. It is now owned by the Romero group’s Belgrove Power Corp.

“We are optimistic that with the successful public bidding for the Casecnan plant’s operation and maintenance contract, Psalm can now proceed to prepare for the ultimate plan of privatizing the [facility], consistent with the clear mandate in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act,” Psalm president and chief executive Irene Besido-Garcia said in a statement.

Psalm has a 60-percent interest in the Casecnan Hydro Power Project, which also has an irrigation component. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) holds the remaining 40-percent stake.

Upon sale of the power plant, the NIA shall continue to administer the irrigation component of the project, which benefits 139,200 hectares of farmland in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan and Tarlac.

The Casecnan power plant is located in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. Its two run-off weirs and water intake structures that run along the Casecnan and Taal Rivers are in Alfonso Castañeda town in neighboring Nueva Vizcaya.

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TAGS: Casecnan hydropower plant, deal, Korean firm, Nueva Ecija, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), Privatization, Soosan ENS Co. Ltd.
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