Osmena: Just close Malaya power plant

by Ria De Fiesta, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 23 2014 07:53 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2014 06:05 AM

MANILA -- Senator Serge Osmena III, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, said Thursday the government should just close the Malaya power plant in Rizal if it remains on shutdown.

The Senate Committee on Energy, during its investigation into the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) power rate hike, asked Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) officials why it did not run the Malaya plant.

Osmena told radio dzMMM that running the plant, which he described as old, is too costly.

"Namamahalan kasi sila, lugi pag pinapatakbo ang lumang-lumang planta na yun. Eh bakit pa binigyan ng operations and maintenance contact na P600 million, para i-manage ng private sector, kung hindi naman gagamitin? I-close down mo na," he said.

He said the plant could have provided an additional 300 megawatts of electricity that could lead to lowered prices at the energy spot market.

"Maski 300 megawatts lamang, nakaiwas tayo ng P62 per kilowatt hour (ceiling price)," Osmena said.

"Nagpagawa ako ng sensitivity graph sa mga presyo (ng kuryente). Ang nakita ko, siguro if we had just added another 300 megawatts to the supply, yung pricing hindi aabot ng P62, P12 lamang. So malaking bagay yun kasi very sensitive sa shortage itong WESM o Wholesale Electricity Spot Market," Osmena said.

He said the breakdown of 5 power plants in the country in a span of 30 days during November to December in 2013 led to a power supply shortage.

The power plants' breakdown has been described as accidental.

Osmena also said the energy secretary should be made accountable for any emergency in the electric power industry.

"He's the big boss," Osmena said.