‘We have paid billions of pesos to PSALM’

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    SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) yesterday said its power unit South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC) has paid government a total of P314.6 billion as it debunked claims made by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) that the power firm owes the government P23.9 billion in “overdue receivables.”

    The SPPC is managing the 1,200-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power plant in Ilijan, Batangas under an Independent Power Producer Administrator (IPPA) agreement with PSALM.

    SMC president Ramon Ang, in a statement, said the P314.6 billion payment was as of January 2020.

    Ang broke down the figure as follows: P73.9 billion in fixed monthly payments, and P240.7 billion in generation charges.

    He also said that SPPC only has a remaining balance of P77.6 billion, consisting of P23.6 billion in fixed monthly payments and P54 billion in generation charges that is payable until its agreement with the government ends in 2022 when the company will be allowed to fully take over the plant.

    All in all, total paid and unpaid payments to PSALM will amount to P392.2 billion, or P97.5 billion in fixed monthly payments and P294.7 in generation charges.

    SMC said its payments are already more than enough to pay for the 20-year old power plant as a brand new plant with the same capacity could be built for a lower price.

    The company said that a brand new and modern facility with the same capacity of the ageing Ilijan plant would cost only P40 billion to build against the P97.60 billion capacity fees that will be paid by SPPC until the end of its contract.

    In 2015, SPPC, filed a case before the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court against PSALM after the latter unilaterally terminated its IPPA.

    The case was decided in May 2019 in favor of SMC after the Mandaluyong RTC denied PSALM’s motion for reconsideration saying it found no strong and compelling reason to reverse its earlier ruling.

    In September 2019, the Court of Appeals also dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by PSALM against the order of Mandaluyong RTC in favor of SPPC.

    The said rulings allowed SPPC to continue administering the output of the Ilijan power plant under an IPPA but PSALM is still bent on finding legal remedies to collect more from SMC.

    Ang said he was compelled to reveal details of their power unit’s payments to PSALM after the latter and the Makabayan bloc told congressmen that SPPC has unpaid debts to the government.

    “For some reason, while our case with PSALM is still in court, this issue is being raised by parties that are devious enough to use and mispresent the Makabayan bloc to advance their ulterior motives,” Ang said.

    “It’s for this reason that we are releasing the latest figures of our continuous and up-to-date payments to PSALM,” he elaborated.