NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
A combination of a diesel power plant in the province and geothermal power in Leyte was evaluated as the “lowest calculated responsive bid” by the One Bohol Power (1BP) Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) that will fulfill the long-sought dream of Boholanos for a power plant that will secure a reliable and affordable power at all times including isolation of Bohol from the grid.
Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a Lopez-owned and controlled corporation submitted a tender of PhP5.2168/kilowatt per hour (kwh) and an 85 megawatt (mw)diesel plant reportedly to be located in Ubay combined with a 591mw geothermal in Tongonan, Leyte.
Yet, the JTPBAC remains cautious in declaring EDC as the winning bidder, aware of a possible legal tussle with two power firms whose proposals were disqualified and their motion for reconsiderations denied.
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.
EDC’s price/kWh is PhP2.18 higher than the lowest calculated bid submitted by Thermal Visayas, Inc. (TVI) but was withdrawn upon the start of the evaluation.
Earlier, Engr. Danilo Quidlat, Head of the JTWG 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.
A member of the TWG, on condition of anonymity, surmised that the five bidders submitted lower price rates unknowingly miscalculating the required plant capacity based on resiliency.
Quidlatbared that the baseload requirement of 1BP which is 83mw for the next ten years starting on 2024 to 2033 will be supplied from the two plants with a captive price of PhP5.2168 for the ten-year period.
However, the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) for Power Supply Agreements (PSA’s) of Distribution Utilities (DU’s) as mandated by the Department of Energy (DOE) was not spared controversy after five of the power firms that submitted their financial and technical proposals were deemed disqualified by the JTPBAC.
This disturbing pattern of disqualification of the five bidders over plant capacity caught the attention of several Bohol-based members of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc.(NASECORE).
Pete Ilagan, NASECORE President wrote Quidlat, on behalf of its members requesting information on the “specific provisions in the bidding TOR that the five disqualified bidders failed to comply.
Ilagan’s letter to the head of the JTWG on May 28, 2021, a copy of which was furnished to the Chronicle asked for copies of the TOR that served as the basis for the bidder’s bid offers, Power Supply Procurement Plan of members of 1BP and evaluation documents from the JTWG on each of the non-compliant bidder.
Citing the Chronicle’s May 16, 2021 news item “Of 6 bidders for Bohol Power Plant, only 1 left”, Ilagan welcomed the pronouncement of Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to look into “this disturbing bid results that stemmed from the alleged bidders’ non-compliance with the bidding’s TOR.
The five power firms fell short in their proposed plant capacity that would supply the ten-year 83mw committed baseload demand for procurement of 1BP even as their rates were well below the PhP5.4089 cap set by the JTPBAC, according to Quidlat.
A major misinterpretation of the meaning of “resiliency” hounded the technical proposals of the five bidders that led to the filing of a protest by Global Business Power Corporation of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the JTPBAC required a power plant installed in the province that will guarantee a capacity equivalent to or greater than its total baseload requirement and is readily available during a total power supply interruption from all sources.
LOWEST CALCULATED BID
The lowest calculated bid was submitted by ThermaVisayas, Inc. (TVI), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power at PhP3.0405 for a solar+coal plant, Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc., owned by Leandro Leviste, son of former Senator Loren Legarda, now Representative of Antique – PhP3.9297/kwh for a diesel+solar plant, Global Business Power Corporation of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) for diesel+solar – Php4.5362/kwh.
The three other power bidders were SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. of San Miguel Corporation for natural gas+battery – PhP4.5596/kwh, and Bohol Hybrid Energy Corp. whose chair and President is a Boholano – Atty. Wilfredo Bacareza, Jr. for diesel+solar. – PhP 5.1897.
Despite the unresolved contentious issues surrounding the CSP of 1BP, the JTPBAC will review the evaluation results of the EDC before declaring it as the winning bidder and the issuance of the Notice to Proceed (NTP).
Although a rebid is considered far-fetch, sources told the Chronicle that a comprehensive review of the terms and conditions as laid out in the DOE’s mandate for a competitive selection process shall be conducted by the 1BP.
A rebid will be open to the original nineteen participants who submitted letters of intent and paid PhP250,000 bidding fees each on September 11, 2020, signifying their interest to explore the feasibility of building the province land-based power plant to augment the existing 25.2 megawatts (MWs) installed capacity of one diesel and three hydro plants whose meager capacity has been far outpaced by Bohol’s burgeoning power needs. (Chito M. Visarra)