BY JOANNA C. BALANZA
Investors eyeing Mindanao are factoring power supply in future plans to invest in the Philippine southern island where unstable power supply is a perennial roadblock to economic development.
But a Davao City-based business leader said investors are optimistic Mindanao could sail through the power woes with the numerous energy generation projects being constructed or in the pipeline.
The coal-fired power plants are expected to fill in the power lack in Mindanao that is largely dependent on hydropower that suffers from erratic weather patterns.
Southern Mindanao would be the biggest beneficiary of the power projects and Philipp Dizon said businessmen are inspiring the national government to push the creation of the Southern Mindanao Road Corridor.
We know that there will be a surplus in supply in 2016, said Dizon, president of the Davao chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
Dizon spoke about Southern Mindanao’s brighter power situation at the recent Joint Foreign Chambers’ Meeting in Davao City.
The meeting is a prelude to the First Southern Mindanao Growth Corridor (SMGC) Investor Forum jointly organized by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. – Davao (AMCHAM-Davao), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (ECCP), and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Mindanao, Inc. (JCCM), which will be held on September 19, 2014 in Davao City.
When the power projects are done, Mindanao will have the cheapest power rate in the Philippines, said Dizon.
As it is, the local business community is drumming up the future power supply situation to lure more investors, said Dizon.
“We know that there will be a surplus of power coming in and we have to convince the investors about the Southern Mindanao economic road corridor and telling them about the power plants being constructed, he said.
The power plants, Dizon said, are the 645MW AboitizPower coal power plant in Davao City, the 600MW San Miguel coal power plant in Malita, Davao Occidental, the 405MW power plant in Cagayan de Oro and the 405MW Alcantara power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.
`More competition in the power industry sector in Mindanao would cut down power cost, improve service and achieve a stable power supply in the island, said Manuel Orig, Aboitiz Power Therma South Inc. (TSI) first vice president for Mindanao.
AboitizPower is a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Group of Companies, the country’s biggest power generation company which is into hydropower, coal-fired and fuel-fired power plants.
Orig said the power sector should take the same path taken by the telecommunications and airline industries that were perked up by competition.
The solution to the power crisis in Mindanao is taking the same route as the airline and the telephone industries which significantly improved due to competition, said Orig in a recent press briefing for the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference (MINBIZCON) which will be held in Davao City later this year.
Competition in the power sector is expected to improve power supply and cut down power rates in Mindanao, he said.
The reason why we are aggressively putting up many power plants is to encourage other power developers to follow us and compete because that is the way that we can solve the perennial power crisis in Mindanao, Orig added.
As a power generator based in Mindanao, it is our responsibility to help solve that power crisis by increasing power supply in the market, said Orig.