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PSALM pushes sale of big assets
The state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) is bent on finally pushing through with the privatization of expensive assets this year, including the 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power plant in Rizal and the 210-MW Mindanao coal-fired plant in Misamis Oriental.
PSALM said in a statement that it wanted to cut on operational costs and augment funds for paying off the financial obligations it assumed from the cash-strapped National Power Corp., the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Jan. 17.
“PSALM will seek its board’s definitive policy on the privatization of Malaya (plant) and Mindanao (plant),” the state firm said, noting that the sale of both facilities had been previously put off.
The planned bidding last year of the four-decade-old Malaya plant was deferred as the Department of Energy had considered the conversion of the oil-fired facility into one that would run on liquefied natural gas.
“PSALM has yet to receive a final word from the DOE on the natural gas policy, which will be included in the plant’s sale terms of reference,” the state firm said.
As for the Mindanao plant, privatization that was originally slated in 2015 was postponed as PSALM considered the timing inappropriate considering that Mindanao was now beset with an oversupply of generating capacity and the plant might “not attract the maximum investment.”
To shore up Psalm’s cash position, the state firm said it would prioritize the privatization of non-power assets, including 231 parcels of land that sum up to a total area of 10,000 hectares.
Already lined up for public bidding this month are eight lots that total 20,975 square meters belonging to the Manila thermal plant complex as well as 92 lots totalling at 257,995 sq m belong to the Bauang diesel power plant in La Union.