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PIA Press Release

Construction of Masinloc 600-megawatt power plant starts soon, winning bidder tells PGMA

Manila (13 September) -- Officials of Singapore based AES Transpower Pte. Ltd., the winning bidder for the construction of Masinloc power plant in Zambales, told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this morning that they are more than ready to build another 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired electricity-producing facility to augment the country's energy requirement.

In an interview immediately after their meeting with the President, Paul Hanrahan, president and chief executive officer of AES said they told the President that they were "pleased" with the way the bidding process had turned out and that they were "committed" to completing the sale as soon as possible.

"And we're also committed to begin the process of building a second unit in Masinloc which will be another 600-megawatt unit which will be fundamental part of our business strategy to expand," he added.

Hanrahan said he expects construction of the second power plant to begin next year right after rehabilitation works on the original Masinloc power plant are completed.

"In the first year, there will be certain amounts of investment to improve the reliability and the performance of the (first) plant and then we will move on to the second unit which will start with the planning in accordance to developing the second phase of Masinloc which has always been part of the plan to have a second plant," Hanrahan said.

AES won the bid for the purchase of the Masinloc power plant by placing the highest bid with its $930 million offer through its unit, Masinloc Power Partners Co., Ltd.

The bid proved to be the highest bid for the power plant and bested other bidders including Anglo Cayman Energy Development Company Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the world's top coal producer Beijing Guohua Electric Power Corp., and Masinloc Consolidated Power, Inc., a partnership between Ranhill Berhad A. Brown Company, Inc. and First Gen Luzon Power Corp. of the Lopez group.

Hanrahan said the President was "very pleased" with the development and expressed "encouragement" at the prospect of more investments in the power sector.

"She was very positive. She was pleased to see one of the processes (in the privatization of the country's power plants) going well," Hanrahan said.

"She was also very encouraged about the idea of having more investments in the power sector because she sees it as a way to further develop the market and to cause more efficiency and more competitiveness in the (power) market," he added.

The President has been pushing for the privatization of the government's power generating assets to meet one of the requirements of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which requires 70 percent privatization before an open access regime can take effect in the power sector.

The advent of open competition is expected to bring about cheaper electricity rates as consumers may choose their own supplier of power. (OPS/PIA) [top]

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