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AboitizPower suggests Agus rehabilitation
July 24, 2017
Aboitiz Power Corporation President and COO Antonio Moraza told business leaders at an investment conference in Davao City yesterday, July 21, 2017, that with a huge surplus of power in Mindanao, the government can now consider a major rehabilitation of the decades-old Agus hydroelectric power plants.
The Agus hydroelectric power plants are generating an installed capacity of 727 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. It currently has a dependable capacity of around 400 MW according to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). With some of the Agus units constructed as early as the 1950's, many sectors have been calling for an extensive rehabilitation of the facilities so it can operate at an optimum efficiency.
“With all the supply coming into Mindanao today, it may be time for the government to finally decide the fate of the Agus complex. Perhaps it is time for these old power plants to be rehabilitated,” Moraza said during the Davao Investment Conference held on July 21 and 22 in Davao City.
He said with more power plants getting built, the perennial problem of the Mindanao power shortage is gone. He emphasises that the region must now take advantage of its energy surplus to spur the economy.“Now that power supply is no longer an issue, it can be said that Mindanao is truly open for business,” Moraza said during his speech.
He said, though, that sufficient power supply is not the only factor that will bring investments to Mindanao.He also cited the importance of peace and order and eradicating corruption and red tape.In the case of Agus, Moraza cited AboitizPower’s successful rehabilitation of the Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant in Ifugao, a facility built in 1956 that that was abandoned by the government after the 1990 earthquake that struck Baguio.
“We took over Ambuklao in 2008. We invested resources, brought in experts, and worked with the government to make the plant run again. In 2011, we not only brought back the plant but also increased its installed capacity from 70 MW to 105 MW. With the same amount of water, energy produced has increased by 50%,” Moraza said.
However, Moraza said studies would have to be made in order to determine how the proposed Agus rehabilitation be done and by whom.
AboitizPower has an almost century-old foothold in the power sector in Mindanao.
The company invested in power in Mindanao since the early 1900s when it first acquired Jolo Power Company. Later on, AboitizPower expanded through distribution utilities Davao Light and Cotabato Light which are now serving two of the fastest growing regions in Mindanao.
Today, the Aboitiz group, through its holding company Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), continues to pour investments in Mindanao. Pilmico, the company’s food subsidiary, continues to meet the demand for flour and feeds in Visayas and Mindanao. Its banking arms, Unionbank and City Savings Bank, have been providing financial services to customers all over the island.
AEV’s new subsidiary Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc., in partnership with the Davao City Water District, will soon begin the construction of its bulk water facility which will address the water supply problems in Davao City.
AEV is also planning to expand its real estate arm, AboitizLand, in Mindanao. Meanwhile, the Aboitiz Construction Group will continue to build projects in the region to support the region’s continuous economic growth and development.“There are many challenges ahead for business in Mindanao to flourish,” Moraza said. “With all of us working together, we can all finally translate Mindanao’s promise into reality,” he added.