NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The quest for an independent power plant based in Bohol will face its first decisive test on January 8, 2021 as 18 bidders will submit their respective bids to build a power plant in the province to secure a reliable and affordable power for the Boholanos at all times.
The scheduled submission and opening of bids will conclude a rigorous four-month pre-bid conferences that was conducted by the One Bohol Power Distribution Utilities (1BP) under the Department of Energy (DOE) circular mandating all Distribution Utilities (DUs) to undergo Competitive Selection Process (CSP) in the procurement of power supply for their captive market.
A request from several bidders to move the commercial operation date of the completed power plant to a later date from December 26, 2023 was turned down by the 1BP as the committed baseload demand for procurement from 2024-2033 will drastically affect the growing power demand of the province.
1BP composed of Bohol Light Company Inc. (BLCI), Bohol Electric Cooperatives 1 and 2 is committed to purchase 83 megawatts (mw) of power from the plant’s winning bidder for ten years.
1BP also turned down a request from the bidders to extend the ten-year period to 20 or 30 years at most considering the cost of building a plant in Bohol.
Engr. Danilo Quidlat of the Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (TPBAC) told the Chronicle that the consumers’ welfare was the top-most consideration when they stood firm on the 10-year period for the committed power purchase from the winning bidder.
LEAST POWER COST
Ideally, according to Quidlat, a 20 to 30 year deal is ideal to recoup an investment for building a 100 mw power plant.
However, the TPBAC anticipated that with the fast-paced development of technology in the power sector power prices volatility might bind consumers to a higher price as compared to an agreed fixed ten-year committed purchased price.
With the committed baseload demand for procurement starting at 50 mw in 2024 for the three DUs and reaching 83 mw by 2033, the winning bidder should build a 100 mw “in-island” plant in the province to meet the required minimum generating capacity for each contract year.
The January 8, 2021 submission and opening of bids will show the acceptability of the terms and conditions of 1BP as will be gleaned from the number of bidders participating which Quidlat described as a testing of the waters by the three DUs.
Aside from the strict implementation of the “no to coal” policy of the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGB), the bidders shall apply affordable and competitive rates, power supply availability even during isolation of the province from other sources and strict observance of environmental laws.
The PGB headed by then Governor and now 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto created the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) that produced the 2016-2045 Power Development Plan and formed the 1BP.
In 2019, the annual peak demand was 94 mw with a measly 20 mw from inland local power sources. (Chito M. Visarra)