Groups thwart SMC’s attempt to take over management of Albay power cooperative

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jan 07 2014 08:12 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 04:12 PM

MANILA - The San Miguel Corp. (SMC), through SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., was prevented by several groups in its attempt to take over the management of Albay Electric Co-operative (Aleco) on Monday.

According to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, there are “100 people who have occupied parts of the compound trying to prevent the turnover. PNP [Philippine National Police] and LGU [local government units] officials are now meeting,” he said as of this writing.

A source said these groups are “member-consumers represented by sectors from academe, lawyers, business, church, former board of director and party-list groups, such as Akbayan and Bayan.”

SMC Global won the bid to take over the management of Aleco for 35 years.

SMC Global Power will not own Aleco. It will only “run and shoulder the debt and pay monthly concession fees,” Petilla said.

SMC Global Power will be shelling out P350 million in separation payment to affected Aleco workers. Also, some P250 million will be earmarked for capital expenditure. The working capital has yet to be determined until such time SMC Global Power starts to operate the cash-strapped power cooperative.

Aleco’s debt exposure to SMC Global amounts to P600 million.

SMC Global has become one of the largest independent power-generation companies in the country with an installed capacity of 2,545 megawatts (MW) to date.

The company had a 17-percent market share of the power supply of the national grid and 23-percent share of the Luzon grid as of end 2012.

The conglomerate plans to install a total of 3,000 MW of new capacity over the long term with new power plants that will be based on clean coal technology.