MANILA, Philippines – The country’s biggest power retailer Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is currently in exploratory talks with an existing generation company for a possible venture in power-starved Mindanao.
This was according to Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Meralco, which operates in Metro Manila and nearby areas. Pangilinan declined to identify the company they are in talks with.
“In Mindanao, it will be via partnerships…that’s the quickest way,” Pangilinan said on Monday, April 21, on the sidelines of a briefing on the first quarter results of Meralco.
When asked if they are talking to existing Mindanao power players Aboitiz or Alcantara groups, he replied, “We’re open to anybody.”
In January, Meralco and Global Business Power Corp., the power arm of tycoon George Ty, announced their joint venture to build 4 coal-fired power plants in Mindanao that will generate around 100 megawatt.
On April 19, the Ayala group also said they are keen to participate in power projects in Mindanao, which is plagued by rolling blackouts that last from 7 to 10 hours a day.
The Ayalas, too, are in talks with potential partners for power projects in Mindanao, according to Eric Francia, head of the conglomerate’s energy investments via AC Energy Holdings Inc., the Ayalas’ holding company for its investments in the power sector.
The Ayalas have stakes in several power generation projects and have an existing partnership with the Aboitiz group for the bid for the Cebu airport expansion project.
The Aboitiz group is the biggest power producer in the country based on installed capacity.
The Department of Energy is currently studying various options on how to address the crisis, which it said, would continue until 2015.
According to data from the Department of Energy, the Mindanao grid at present has 37.31% baseload generating capacity compared to Luzon’s 63.94% and Visayas’ 71.88%. – Rappler.com
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