By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
AN INDEPENDENT power producer based in Iloilo City is drawing up plans to expand its coal-fired power plant in LaPaz district.
Gil Altamira, assistant vice president for business operations of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), confirmed the earlier statement of GBPC president Arthur N. Aguilar that the firm is planning to expand Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC)’s capacity by 82 megawatts.
GBPC, a subsidiary of the Metrobank Group, owns PEDC which operates the 164MW coal-fired power plant at Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz.
PEDC supplies 65MW to Iloilo City via Panay Electric Co. while its remaining capacity is dispatched to electric cooperatives in Panay Island.
Aguilar said the PEDC expansion project will cost P8 billion.
Altamira said the additional unit is already in the pipeline following successful talks with their customers via a mini power summit recently.
Altamira said consulted distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in Panay and Negros regarding their projected demand for electricity until 2016 so they can have concrete basis for the expansion of the coal-fired power plant.
“The projected demand of the cooperatives and utilities serves as the baseline for the expansion project. We have to carefully study this expansion so we can serve their needs without burdening the consumers,” Altamira said.
Aside from the PEDC expansion, GBPC is also planning to retire its 30-year-old plant in Toledo, Cebu and replace it with a new 82MW coal plant which also cost around P8 billion.
The PEDC and Toledo expansions also mean GBPC is close to hitting its 30 percent limit in the Visayas under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) which means its expansion options are limited until demand surges again.
The limit set by EPIRA is meant to protect the electricity market from monopoly and promote fair competition among power producers.
Altamira said the 30 percent limit is dependent on the total demand for power in Visayas.