By MYRNA M. VELASCO
BEYOND the utility scale-driven capacity build-up, the three retail electricity supplier (RES) units of Aboitiz Power Corporation have been targeting to corner an amalgamated 800 megawatts portfolio by year 2020, according to the conglomerate’s Chief Executive Officer Erramon I. Aboitiz.
He said that will serve as a continuing strategy from the 400-500MW that they currently have – and part of the capacity to be offered will be from the company’s 300-megawatt Toledo coal-fired power facility.
The capacity of the Toledo plant, which is under Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI) corporate vehicle, had not been fully contracted yet, Aboitiz said. That then sets a leeway for part of its generated capacity to be offered to customers in the retail competition and open access (RCOA) space.
That plant will be one of the three facilities that the company will be setting on commercial stream this year – along with the 400MW Pagbilao-3 plant expansion of which the Aboitiz Group is 50-percent equity holder; and the 68.8MW Manolo Fortich hydropower facility in Bukidnon.
To complete the construction of all three power plants and to fully bring them to commercial commissioning, Aboitiz noted that R59 billion of fresh capital spending had been earmarked this year.
With these three generating facilities getting on-line this year, he stressed that the company would already inch close to its 4,000-megawatt target set for year 2020 – and the last plant seen plugging portended capacity gap is hoped to be the Redondo Peninsula Energy coal-fired power project – its joint venture with Meralco PowerGen and Taiwan Cogeneration International Corporation.
Moreover, on power retail customers, Aboitiz Power Chief Operating Officer for Corporate Business Group Luis Miguel Aboitiz emphasized that the target for the year would be up to 700MW aggregate capacity. The group’s RES units are the Aboitiz Energy Solutions Inc., Advent Energy, Inc. and Prism Energy.
Onward, he stressed that they would still have to wade through aggressive competition in the RCOA domain, with him asserting that “we’re not going to stop there (800 MW).” However, he admitted that as the threshold on qualified contestable customers go lower, “it becomes harder to grow.”
The younger Aboitiz added “we’re targeting all customers. What is important is these customers would really want to shift, because there are customers who would not want to go open access,” emphasizing the hurdles of going through contract negotiations and documentary processes when they have all been comfortable with the traditional and conventional set-up of securing electricity service.
Aboitiz noted though that there are certain rules and policies that relevant government agencies must clarify relative to the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court against the enforcement of some RCOA policies and edicts – mainly those on the required registration and switching of customers.
He said the Retail Electricity Suppliers Association (RESA) already lodged its clarificatory questions with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the switching concerns of some segments of customers, but he reckoned matters of such sort “may take time to resolve.”
“There’s a TRO, we’re not sure if the TRO affects everything in the rules – or it could only be certain things – like PEMC (Philippine Electricity Market Corporation as central registration body) has stopped processing the switching on those who are in the 750 kilowatts to 1.0 megawatt threshold — for those who want to go open access but cannot do it at this time,” he stressed.
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