Gov't mulls options for Malaya

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 27 2014 08:08 AM | Updated as of Jan 27 2014 04:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Energy officials are studying a number of options for the 650-megawatt Malaya Thermal Power Plant in Rizal, which lawmakers blamed for the spike in electricity rates last December when the Malampaya gas field went offline.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) are set to decide on the best option for the Malaya plant given that it may be useful in times of supply shortage.

“I was talking to Secretary Petilla. We have to sit down and decide what we can do,” said PSALM president Emmanuel Ledesma Jr.

He said PSALM, the government corporation tasked to privatize state-owned power assets, and the DOE would explore all options.

These include privatizing the plant, keeping it as a security facility, which the government can use when there is a supply shortage or to simply mothball it.

Petilla said it may be better for the government to maintain the plant than to mothball it, which was what it wanted to do before.

“We can maintain it until such time that it is no longer needed,” Petilla said.

During a hearing on Thursday conducted by the Senate committee on energy, panel chairperson Sergio Osmeña III criticized the government for not operating the Malaya Thermal Plant early on during the shutdown period, saying this would have provided additional supply that would have brought down electricity prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).