By Myrna M. Velasco | Manila Bulletin


Amid tight supply scare, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had fast-tracked the issuance of a provisional authority (PA) to temporarily serve as the license-to-operate for the 500-megawatt (MW) San Buenaventura power facility in Quezon province at least for the initial duration of six months.

The power plant is a joint venture of Meralco PowerGen, the power generation arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco); and New Growth B.V., a corporate vehicle of Thai firm EGCO group for the project.

The facility’s net-generating capacity is at 455MW, but its total rated capacity as stipulated in provisional authority to operate – which is a precursor to a certificate of compliance (COC) – is at 528.12 megawatts.

In a correspondence sent to San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL) General Manager Frank Thiel, ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera stated that “after due deliberations by the Commission on 24 September 2019, the Commission granted a provisional authority to operate (PAO) for the aforementioned generating facility of SBPL for period of six months from 24 September 2019 to 23 March 2020.”

The provisional permit, according to the ERC had been granted, but SBPL has yet to comply with four more conditions before it could be issued with its final COC. These include: The transfer of permit to operate (PTO) air pollution source installations from the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor Daelim to SBPL; the renewal of wastewater discharge permit which is expiring on November 13, 2019; compliance to conditions stipulated under the conditional water permit issued by the National Water Resources Board; and certificate of final approval to connect from National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on or before March 20, 2020.

The ERC emphasized that it was prompted on issuing the provisional operating permit given threats of possible supply tightening with the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas production facility next month.

The regulatory body has reminded SBPL though that in line with the prescriptions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), “generation companies should have obtained all the necessary health, safety and environmental clearances from appropriate government agencies before the Commission grants the issuance of COC/PAO.”