By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City – Mindanao-based cooperatives expressed their interest to bid for the state-owned Agus-Pulangui Hydropower Complexes to “democratize the power industry.”
Edgardo T. Silagan, chairperson of the 1 Mindanao Energy Cooperatives (1MIECOOP), said he believes that the cooperatives will be able to pool funds together to participate in the bidding, alongside giant power companies, to buy out the hydropower complexes.
He said 1MIECOOP currently has 35 members with combined assets of P20 billion.
Silagan averred that they can still encourage other big cooperatives to join in the undertaking.
He said electricity costs will become more competitive once cooperatives are allowed to own their own power assets and be able to participate in power generation, a field dominated by only a few large power companies.
Silagan also asked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to support their plan to acquire the Agus-Pulangui.
“Mr. President, we, the Mindanao-based cooperatives want to own the hydro power plants which we hope you would support because this will give us social justice, equitable distribution of wealth, peace and prosperity, and job generation,” he said.
The 2001 Energy Power Reform Act (EPIRA) excluded the Agus-Pulangui Hydro Power Complexes from privatization for 10 years until 2011, but the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities (PSALM) moved the privatization this year.
Majority of the hydropower sources of Mindanao comes from the state-run Agus-Pulangui Hydro Power Complexes with installed capacity of 982.1 MW and composed of seven plants – Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5 Agus 6, Agus 7, and Pulangui 4.