Owing to its mandate of ensuring sufficient power supply for the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) has directed Hedcor Inc. to continue running the three generating units of its 70-megawatt Bakun hydropower facility in Benguet province.

The power plant had been served with cease and desist order (CDO) last week by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR), but it prevailed upon the legal determination of the DOE that it will be detrimental to consumers’ interest if that whimsical decision of another government agency will pull the plug on the facility’s operation.

In a letter to Hedcor, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation, the energy department stipulated that the three generating units – Lower Labay, Lon-oy and FLS — of the Bakun hydropower asset, must continue operating “given the shortage of available capacity from the grid caused by the unavailability of large power plants as well as de-rated operation of operating power plants.”

Coincidentally, hydro plants are perceptibly ‘most dependable’ on their scale of generation during these times of the year because of the kick-off of the rainy season; therefore, they can help ease the very wobbly state of power supply in Luzon grid as demand climbs due to the wider re-opening of some core segments of the economy.

In a parallel development, Hedcor conveyed its readiness and willingness “to sit in a tongtongan with the Bakun IPs at the soonest possible time to address the issues and concerns,” primarily those raised by the Bakun Indigenous Tribes Organization (BITO).

And from the outcome of the targeted collaborative discussions, the Aboitiz firm indicated its desire of gaining traction toward “strengthening the relationship” that it had built with its host-IP community over the past three decades.

Noreen Vicencio, Hedcor vice president for Corporate Services, said their company is recognizing “the concerns of our Bakun IP community and our doors remain open for a dialogue.”

She emphasized that the ‘tongtongan’ as a way to clear up the dissension between parties, “is crucial to the resolution of this issue, not only to protect the welfare of our IPs/ICCs (indigenous cultural communities), but also to fulfill our contribution to ensuring availability and reliability of power supply for the country.”

The DOE further stated that if the plant’s operation will be disrupted, it will also end up counter-productive to the host community; because the financial benefits being funneled to them as prescribed via Energy Regulations 1-94 – including those for Covid-related measures — are largely dependent on the electricity generated and correspondingly sold to the consumers.

“ER 1-94 funds are dependent on the kWh generated by the power plants, stoppage of operation of power facilities will affect the mobilization of the said funds for Covid-19 response,” the energy department explained.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/06/29/doe-directs-hedcor-to-continue-operating-bakun-hydro-facility/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doe-directs-hedcor-to-continue-operating-bakun-hydro-facility)