February 25, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Energy Development Corporation scored by Sorsogon Board Member Doma


“Is EDC doing their very best to treat Sorsoganons as equals in the manner of doing business right in our Backyard?” was the question of Board Member Benito Doma of the second district of Sorsogon when he delivered his”Pagmalasakit sa mga Sorsoganons” privilege speech.

Accordingly, the Bacon-Manito”(Bac-Man) Geothermal Power Plant that straddles the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon that has been operating since the 1990s with a supply capacity of 150MW to the Luzon Grid where it generated its energy from the steam from deep under the province surface with 110MW to Palayan Bayan, 20 MW for Cawayan and the 20MW at Botong power plants.

With the upgrading of the Palayan power plant capacity to 120MW after the shutdown of the Botong power plant, the Geothermal Power Plant has a steady capacity of 140MW.

The Board Member recalled that the former owner of the power plant was the Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Development Corporation (PNOC-EDC) as part of its corporate social responsibilities, provided responsible environmental management in its concession areas aside from job creation, livelihood to locals, education, medical programs to name a few.

Doma pointed out that the Provincial Board of Sorsogon acknowledged that the firm bettered the lives of its host communities and pointed out that it endorsed the construction and operation of the 40MW Tanawan Power Plant project within the province side of the geothermal exploration by passing a Board Resolution No. 130-2022 that expresses its support to the proposed Tanawan project in Barangay Capuy and Bulabog of Sorsogon City, because of the beneficial impact to the community and the province in its entirety.

Photo by Renz Luna

He lamented that Sorsoganons “could no longer understand why EDC cannot share more, to give more, to act decisively for the benefits of Sorsoganons who have been their good host those years of their operation given that they have been generating their income here.”

The call slashes the paper of avoidance of EDC now owned by the Lopez group First Gen Corporation to give the rightful benefit to Sorsoganons which it deserved no less from the bounty of the province with the spike of 19.00 peso rate per kilowatt hour in August 2022.

Acknowledging that EDC has no hand in the fluctuating world market price of coal and never of its making but, calls that EDC should carry some of the burdens by offering and supplying Sorsogon with clean sources and less costly electricity rates.

According to his data, Soreco I has an 11-12 megawatt power requirement, while Soreco II has 20-23 MW needs.

Palayan Bayan produces 120MW and the province requirement is 60 MW. The Binary power plant project in Palayan Bayan nearing completion and operational by 2023 is capacitated at 29MW making EDC capacity operation in the two provinces to 169MW.

The board member pointed out that “can EDC is willing to spare 25% of its present installed capacity or 21% of its future capacity in BACMAN for Sorsoganons”?

He said that when the 40MW Tanawan power plant becomes operational by 2023, EDC has a combined installed capacity of 209MW.

Was it too much to ask that an approximate 17% of the installed capacity of BACMAN be allocated to Sorsogon?

Unbeknown to many, EDC combined power capacity is 1,179MW from its 12 integrated power plants in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao inspite of the urgent requirement of Soreco I and II of 5 MW and 12MW which the 17MW can be readily supplied by the Cawayan power plant alone, a point that EDC should answer.

Part of his speech debunks the myth that EDC cannot supply Sorsogon directly from their BacMan Geothermal Power Plant when it supplied the power requirements of the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay and part of Camarines Norte, while the Bicol region was cut off from the Luzon Grid after Typhoon
Rolly cut down the interconnections.

EDC is more than capable of supplying Sorsogon from their other plants in Leyte and Southern Negros.

The speech challenged EDC not only to think of its business cash register, but its accountability as a credible partner for economic stimulus from the long-suffering power consumers of Soreco I and II with its clean energy, giving meaning to Sorsogon’s contribution to climate change mitigation.

Board Member Doma called for a united effort in the halls of Congress for the district’s representative that of a Partylist house member, the provincial leadership for EDC has the capacity not only operationally and technically to give what is right and due to Sorsogon.

In parting, he said that Sorsogon is not asking it for free, but is soliciting “Pagmamalasit” from EDC which had been lacking in its truest meaning as its social responsibility to benefit all Sorsoganons.