NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
A serious concern was raised by one of the six bidders for the construction of an independent power plant embedded in Bohol over the award of the project to a bidder who submitted the highest bid price proposal and was declared as the “lowest calculated responsive bid” by the One Bohol Power Distribution Utilities (1BP DU) in May 2021.
Energy Development Corporation (EDC) won the bid to put up an in-island plant + baseload plant outside Bohol (diesel-Bohol and geothermal-Leyte) after submitting a bid price of P5.2168/kWh to supply the 83 megawatts (MWs) baseload requirement of 1BP for the next ten years.
EDC’s offered price/kWh is P2.18 higher than the bid submitted by Thermal Visayas Inc. (TVI) of P3.0405/kWh which they later withdrew.
Bohol Hybrid Energy Corporation (BHEC) chair and president, Atty. Wilfredo Bacareza, Jr., a Boholano, in an interview over DYRD “Inyong Alagad” on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, lamented that the lowest bidder should win because it will redound to lower power rates.
“It is just unfortunate that in this case, they awarded the bid to the highest bidder. I have no idea the exact reason. I think some other bidders have protested but as far as our company is concerned, we did not protest that. But it is a matter of fact that the winning bidder is the highest bidder,” said Bacareza.
Bacareza pointed out that at the time of the approval of the highest bid, the price of diesel was within the range of P48/liter but with the fuel price now at P72/liter the immediate impact will be higher power rates.
Bacareza’s BHEC offered a price proposal of P5.1897/kWh lower than EDC but higher compared to Global Business Power Corporation of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) – P4.5362/kWh and SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) – P4.5596/kWh.
The other bidder was Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. owned by Leandro Leviste, son of former Senator Loren Legarda, now representative of Antique – P3.9297/kWh.
1BP set a price cap of P5.4089/kWh for the bidder’s financial proposal.
Protests were filed by two bidders – SMC Global Power and Meralco’s Global Business Power before 1BP over the apparent misunderstandings on the provisions of the terms of reference but were both dismissed by the Competitive Selection Process Committee. Both bidders paid P5 million as a protest fee.
The pattern of disqualification of the five bidders caught the attention of no less than the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Bohol-based members of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reform, Inc. (NASECORE).
Cusi has yet to initiate an investigation while the request for details of the bidding by NASECORE is still pending.
Moves from the Provincial Government of Bohol and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan are also keenly watched by the public since no response was forthcoming despite the growing apprehension of electricity consumers numbering more than 315,000 with 89% belonging to the residential customers.
However, on January 9, 2022, the Chronicle reported that Boheco 1 General Manager Dino Roxas and currently the chair of 1BP confirmed that EDC’s generation rate once its power plant is in operation is P4.37/kWh.
Roxas also bared that the establishment of the Bohol-based power plant by EDC was postponed from December 26, 2023, to June 2024 after it was granted a six-month extension due to the delay in the evaluation process.
Ten months after a Notice to Proceed (NTP) was issued to the winning bidder – Energy Development Corporation (EDC), 1BP has yet to file a Joint Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) petition before the ERC for final approval of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA).
Engr. Danilo Quidlat, head of the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) of 1BP told the Chronicle that the power rate will be indexed to the prevailing price of geothermal energy which is independent of imported oil prices.
The Competitive Selection Process (CSP) utilized by 1BP aims to attain the objectives of affordable/competitive rates and availability of power during power islanding events such as typhoons, earthquakes, or when Bohol is isolated from the grid.
The Chronicle learned through reliable sources that Governor Arthur Yap and 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto when informed about the bidding results called the 1BP to explain the award to the highest bidder.
The apparent concern of the local government officials is anchored on the shared responsibility between the 1BP DU and the Provincial Government of Bohol.
1BP clarified to the Yap and Chatto that other than the price, the other bidders failed to satisfy the technical requirements of a plant which is “resiliency” or the ability to recover quickly from a calamity is the operative term for bidders for the operation of an independent power plant in Bohol.
Stakeholders, especially the consumers growing clamor for information over the price of an independent power plant despite the need for one is palpable amid another power black-out experienced by the province due to havoc raised by Typhoon Agaton coming on the heels of Typhoon Odette on its only source of power located in Leyte. (Chito M. Visarra)