Secretary Alfonso Cusi of the Department of Energy (DOE) assured officials of the Province of Bohol that the disturbing results of the bidding for the establishment of a baseload power plant in the province will be looked into after four of the six bidders were disqualified while one power firm withdrew before its proposal was evaluated.
Cusi, who visited the province on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, was informed by Governor Arthur Yap “that a growing concern among power stakeholders surfaced after only one bid coming from a power firm that submitted a proposed price which is higher compared to other bidders is now under evaluation.”
According to Engr. Danilo Quidlat, Head of the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) of the Joint Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (JTPBAC) of One Bohol Power (1BP), the latest power proposal that was deemed not compliant with the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the bidding was the offer of Bohol Hybrid Energy Corporation (BHEC).
BHEC, whose chair and president hails from Bohol – Atty. Wilfredo Bacareza, Jr. submitted a proposal to put up a solar+diesel plant in the province with a price of PhP5.1897/kwh.
The Chronicle learned that BHEC filed a motion for reconsideration before the JTBAC of the recommendation of the JTWG disqualification.
The last offer that will be evaluated comes from the Energy Development Corpo’!ration (EDC) of the Lopez Group for a solar+geothermal plant with a price offer of PhP5.2168/kwh.
1BP, composed of the three distribution utilities operating in Bohol – Bohol Light Company Incorporated (BLCI) and Bohol Electric Cooperatives 1 and ll has set a price cap of PhP5.4089/kwh for the bidder’s financial proposal and a baseload power plant located in the province that can supply uninterrupted power 24/7 to Boholanos.
The Chronicle learned that Global Business Power Corporation (GBPC) of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) pursued its protest before the Competitive Selection Process Committee (CSPC) of 1BP and paid a PhP5 million non-refundable fee.
Likewise, SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation (SMC-GPHC) of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) also filed its protest and also paid the required protest fee.
GBPC offered an in-island plant of solar+diesel at PhP4.5362/kwh while SMC proposed a natural gas+battery power plant for PhP4.5596/kwh. Both were considered “non-compliant” by the 1BP Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) for failing to comply with the required plant capacity to supply baseload power to Bohol.
1st District Congressman, then Governor Edgar Chatto also expressed his apprehension over the turn of events in the ongoing bidding saying “As long as the requirements of cost, environmental safety and resiliency are achieved then the objectives of the bidding will prevail.”
The need for an in-land power plant was determined as a top priority during Chatto’s administration after the province was crippled by the devastation caused by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 followed by a powerful earthquake in July 2017 that severely damaged power facilities in Leyte, Bohol’s main source of power and plunged the entire province in darkness for almost a month.
2nd District Congressman ArisAumentado also voiced his uneasiness over the delay in the award to the winning bidder since his district has been on the receiving end of power interruptions.
Quidlat explained to the Chronicle that the price offers of the bidders will be rendered useless unless their proposed plant capacities will comply with the resiliency requirements of the bidding.
Most of the types of plants offered by bidders are solar+diesel which if based on theTWG evaluation fared badly on the capacity of these plants to supply baseload power 24/7.
Quidlat also admitted that the DOE can review its evaluation process since a representative of the department is always present during the assessment process including a representative of the Provincial Government.
TIME TABLE DELAY
The bidding finally got off the ground on Friday, February 12, 2021, after it was postponed on orders from the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Modala Beach Resort Tumoy Village, Purok 5, Barangay Duljo, Panglao.
Nineteen power firms expressed their intention to participate in the bidding paying PhP2.5 million for the bid documents while six decided to offer tenders with a participation fee of PhP250,000.
The two other firms who submitted their financial and technical proposals were ThermaVisayas, Inc. (TVI), a subsidiary of AboitizPower tendered an effective levelized price of PhP3.0405/kwh for coal+solar plant, and Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. (SPPPH Inc), owned by Leandro Leviste, son of former Senator Loren Legarda, now Representative of Antique – PhP3.9297/kwh for a diesel+solar plant.
TVI withdrew its offer while SPPPH Inc. was disqualified by the Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (TPBAC).
With a scheduled December 2023 commercial operation of the power plant to supply the ten-year committed power demand of the three distribution utilities, further delays in the bidding process will further dim the installation of an island baseload power plant to solve the power woes of the Boholanos. (Chito M. Visarra)