Hydropower project inked

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

THE Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is set to build two hydroelectric power plants in the region.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was recently signed by Beneco and the Development Bank of the Philippines approving the loan for the three-megawatt Man-asok Mini Hydroelectric Power Plant project of the electric cooperative in Buguias, Benguet.

"We are happy that finally, the bank has given their consent to fund 90 percent of the project cost," Beneco general manager Gerardo Verzosa said.


He added he was glad DBP extended their loan from the usual 30 percent given to private projects like this one.

The loan to the tune of P445,500,000 will be allocated to finance the mini hydro electric power plant in the Benguet town.

The project has an interest of 6.03 percent per annum for 15 years for the civil works and structures and electro-mechanical works; and 6.03 percent for 10 years for soft costs like feasibility study among others.

Provided in the agreement is the execution of a Deed of Undertaking by Beneco for its commitment to comply with the qualification and eligibility of the mini hydro project as a Clean Development Mechanism.

The electric cooperative must also carry out a Deed of Undertaking to renew its National Electrification Administration (NEA) franchise beyond 2028 to cover the terms of its loan with DBP.

Likewise, Beneco must present an annual Project Performance Monitoring Report, which shows the project performance indicators and compliance with an Environmental Compliance Certificate and Certificate of Non-Overlap or Certification Precondition.

The completion of this hydroelectric power plant is projected to reduce the power cost from the current P5 per kilowatt-hour to P1.30 per kilowatt-hour.

"Ito lang ang paraan for Beneco to eventually bring down the cost of generation that everybody pays," Verzosa said.
The reduction will be possible because the generation and distribution will be from Beneco and not from Team Energy in Sual, Pangasinan which currently supplies them.

The availment of the loan will be within three years from the date of full documentation.

Moreover, Verzosa announced another power generation plant is expected to rise in the region.

"We are now seriously at the stage of finalizing the detailed engineering design for two possible sites along Agno River in the municipality of Kabayan with a total capacity 10 times the capacity of the three megawatt power plant in Buguias," he said.

Meanwhile, DBP senior vice president Antonio Owen Maramag expressed support for the second hydro power plant.

Maramag earlier said the company is proud to be involved with Beneco's Man-asok Mini Hydroelectric Power Plant project, which is now also part of DBP's National Electrification Program.

He closed DBP is very much pleased to provide assistance on the construction of a power source which is "renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly".

Before the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the DBP, a Free and Prior Informed Consent-Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Beneco and the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples of the covered barangays of the project, which are Amgaleyguey, Baculongan Sur, Lengaoan, Poblacion and Sebang.

Others who signed the FPIC were the Buguias Ancestral Domain Alternative for Native Governance and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. These covered communities were promised monetary benefits with rates computed per kilowatt hour. (Giovani Joy Fontanilla)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 14, 2014.

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