Residents prod ERC to approve $1.2-billion Subic coal-plant project


Posted 3 months ago

SUBIC, Zambales—Local officials of Barangay Cawag in this town have asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the speedy review and approval of the power-supply agreement (PSA) for the long-delayed coal-fired thermal power project proposed for construction in their village by the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy).

Residents prod ERC to approve $1.2-billion Subic coal-plant project
In Photo: Earth-moving equipment undertake slope protection and drainage works at the RP Energy project site in Sitio Naglatore, Cawag, Subic, Zambales.

In a letter they hand-carried to the ERC office in Pasig City on Tuesday, members of the Cawag Barangay Council, led by chairman Arthur P. Garcia, expressed their support to project proponent RP Energy, and pressed for the early resolution of the firm’s pending case before the regulatory body.

The letter was signed by Garcia and council members Marvin M. Martinez, Alexander E. Bonilla, Roseanne S. Orayan, Zenaida D. Lozano, Abner F. Bais, Policara L. Continedo and Aida G. Turing.

“We wrote to inform you of our support to Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc., which is building a power plant at Sitio Naglatore in Barangay Cawag, Subic, Zambales,” the council said in the August 14 letter addressed to Commissioner Alfredo J. Non, officer in charge of the ERC.

“We are saddened by the fact that until now, the Energy Regulatory Commission has not yet approved [RP Energy’s] power-supply agreement, which has delayed the construction of the plant,” the council added.

“We pray for the speedy resolution by the Commission of the case so that we may fully attain the benefits intended for our barangay under the project and other programs of RP Energy,” they said.

The officials also noted in their letter that since the coal-power plant project started in 2011, the proponent had introduced progress in the barangay through its corporate social responsibility program by building a health center, school rooms and a multipurpose gym, as well as donating computers, books and medicine.

The council also said that RP Energy has provided employment to Cawag residents, as well as those from nearby communities.

“We know that the success of RP Energy in its business endeavor would also boost the progress of our barangay,” the officials said.

RP Energy, a consortium composed of AboitizPower, Meralco PowerGen Corp., and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp., has committed to build a $1.2-billion 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the area.

However, the project, which had initially met some opposition from residents and local officials in Subic, Olongapo and Zambales, has been long delayed.

While the Supreme Court lifted the writ of kalikasan against the project in 2015, the review of its PSA has been pending with the ERC since April 2016.

The PSA, which is a bilateral agreement between a generation company and a distribution utility for the purchase and supply of power, must pass ERC review because the retail rates charged by distribution utilities for the supply of electricity in their captive market is subject to regulation by the ERC.

As of now, RP Energy has remained in the site development stage, doing slope protection and drainage works in particular, said Jason Gavina, the firm’s community relations officer.

“We are just awaiting the approval of the PSA by the ERC in order to go into full-blown project construction,” Gavina added.

Aside from the Cawag village council, other stakeholders have reportedly given their support to the project, Gavina said.

He said the Cawag Tribal Association, which is composed of over 100 members of Ayta tribesmen in the area, has also urged the ERC to act on the PSA for the RP Energy project.

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