Power contract bidder should’ve had no chance at all; consumer group explains why

Published February 17, 2021, 9:30 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Environmental and security issues should have ended the chances of Kingstone Energy right out of the gate in connection with its bid for the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) 1,800-megawatt (MW) supply deal.

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Thus, said Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (Agham) President Angelo B. Palmones Wednesday, Feb. 17, as he presented details about the power contract hopeful’s background.

The consumer group noted that in October 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a moratorium on endorsing greenfield or new coal-fired power plant projects notwithstanding committed projects and expansion projects.

“Our group stresses that the Kingstone project is actually covered by the DOE moratorium against coal power plants. Thus, they are outrightly disqualified,” Palmones said.

He also claimed Kingstone, which is bidding to supply 1,200 MW under the Meralco deal, is a Hong Kong-based company. The former congressman further said that Kingstone was solely represented by a law firm during the competitive selection process (CSP) for the power supply deal.

“There is a serious national and energy security issue, if Kingstone comes to fruition, this will mean that China controls 1,200 MW power supply in Luzon. This is surely a security issue of the most important and highest level in the national sphere,” he said.

Kingstone, along with Solar Philippines Central Luzon and Sta. Cruz Solar Energy of AC Energy, have been disqualified from the bidding as per Meralco’s announcement last week. 

Palmones further said that based on records, Kingstone’s equity ownership is spread over several offshore companies with no clear credible power company in control. “If the Kingstone project succeeds, China will not only have control over transmission but will also become a major player in generation. This would be a threat to our power and energy ecosystem,” he warned. 

He underscored that Filipino consumers should not be treated as guinea pigs for the provision of a basic commodity like electricity. “And since this new coal power plant has yet to be put up, the question of the proponent’s proven capability and expertise comes into play.”

Referring to Kingstone, Palmones said: “No more appeals or contentions should be made (on the bidding) because clearly, they did not meet the standards being set by the government in the first place.”

 
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