29 June 2021 – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong is saddened over the failure of the City Council to formally act on the proposed termination of the contract between the city government and Kaltimex Energy Philippines for the long overdue rehabilitation of the city-owned Asin minihydro power plants.

The city chief executive stated that the push for the termination of the Kaltimex contract has been pending with the city council for quite some time as the city government continues to suffer losses in terms of projected income while the city-owned plants have not been rehabilitated and made operational.

He claimed that by the start of the year, the city already lost over P160 million in projected income from the supposed operation of the city-owned minihydro plants since these were issued the cease-and-desist order by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in October 2012.

The mayor pointed out that the failure of the city council to officially act on the termination will translate to more lost potential income for the city and the further deterioration of the minihydro power plants that will cause huge investments to make the same operational in the future.

According to him, city executives are puzzled on why some local legislators allegedly refuse to calendar the aforesaid concern for deliberation by the city legislative body despite the complete documents submitted to it by the concerned offices to justify the proposed termination of the contract.

According to him, once the existing contract between the local government and Kaltimex will be terminated, the new terms of reference for the conduct of another public bidding for the rehabilitation of the minihydro power plants will be readied to allow more competent companies to make the plants operational.

Further, he also stipulated that the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) already issued a warning to the Baguio Water District (BWD) for the immediate use of the existing water rights issued to the district to avoid the same from being cancelled.

The city mayor explained that the water rights issued to BWD is non-transferrable thus the need to immediately use the water for its prescribed purpose to avoid this from being cancelled that could result to more problems on the water supply of the city in the future, thus, the need for the immediate implementation of the long-delayed rehabilitation and upgrading project of the minihydro power plants.

The city took over from the Aboitiz-owned Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR) the operation of the Asin minihydro power plants in 2006 after the lapse of the 25-year contract for the operation of the said plants.

Baguio City is the only local government in the country that owns renewable energy generation plants that have existed for over a century tracing back to the American colonization of the country in the early 1900s. – Dexter A. See