'Meralco power plant operational by 2012'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2011 07:53 PM | Updated as of Jan 19 2011 03:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is building its own power plant in Laguna.

Meralco president and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan told reporters the company would complete the construction of a 120-megawatt to 150-MW peaking plant in Calamba within the next 8 months, with commercial operation eyed by the first quarter of 2012.

"We announced our objective to put up 1,500 MW. We'll probably start with our peaking plant project in Calamba, Laguna. It's a combined-cycle the turbine is provided by aerojets, jet engines," he said.

Pangilinan said the project is estimated to cost $120 million to $150 million, and this would be financed by internal cash. "We have enough cash."

Though the cost of the peaking plant would be higher compared to other power plants, Pangilinan said electricity from the facility would be sold at lower prices than the spot market.

"It's a little bit expensive but cheaper than the WESM (wholesale electricity spot market)," he said, noting that this would be consistent with the company's goal to bring down rates.

"This (peaking plant) is ideal to be able to manage prices downwards," he added.

Meralco is also planning to put up a base load power plant "but that would probably take a bit more time to implement. It's probably operational by 2014 to 2015."

Pangilinan, meanwhile, said Meralco likely hit its core income guidance of P11.5 billion in 2010. - With a report from Reuters