Napocor to spend P300M for watershed rehab

By Neil Jerome C. Morales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 11 2012 03:27 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2012 11:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- State-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) is looking at spending almost P300 million for the rehabilitation and management of several watersheds nationwide.

Napocor said it sought the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to use the environmental charge share in the universal charge (UC) for watershed protection projects.

The power firm said it wants to draw P287.436 million from this year’s environmental charge of P0.0025 per kilowatt-hour “to be used for the rehabilitation and management of watershed areas.”

“The proposed programs will ensure the availability of watershed resources, specifically water, not only for Napocor power plants but for other users as well,” the company said.

The protection and management program covers 11 watershed reservations. The Upper-Agno, San Roque, Angat, Caliraya-Lumot, Makiling-Banahaw, Buhi-Barit and Tiwi watershed reservations are under the sole jurisdiction of Napocor.

Magat, Pantabangan, Lake Lanao-Agus and Pulangui-Agusan-Talomo are under co-management with other government agencies.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, Napocor is authorized to file a petition before the ERC to avail of the environmental share in the UC for watershed rehabilitation and management efforts.

Specifically, Napocor said it targets improving management in the watershed given issues on conflicting land claims, untimely delivery of required project inputs, and unfavorable climate conditions.

It also wants to improve and update its watershed management database, create project sustainability and contingency mechanisms and put up a project team for management efforts.

“We intend to introduce an eco-tourism component in watershed areas not only for appreciation but also as means of empowering communities also,” Napocor president Froilan A. Tampinco said.

Under the EPIRA, Napocor will have to privatize its power plants. After the privatization of its power facilities, Napocor would be left with the function of operating the Small Power Utilities Group and those power plants that will not be sold by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.

The company is looking to spend P6.06 billion for its 10-year transmission development program in far-flung communities.