Fresh River Lakes Corp. (FRLC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Gen Corp., was declared the winning party in the privatization of the 165-megawatt (MW) Casecnan hydroelectric power plant (CHEPP) in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
The Privatization Bids and Awards Committee of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) declared FRLC as the highest ranking bidder. FRLC's bid price stood at $526 million, double than the minimum bid price set by PSALM at $227,272,727.28.
The bidding process covers the sale of the power generation facilities of the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project and the operation and maintenance of the related non-power components and transbasin facilities.
FRLC will undergo the post-qualification process required by PSALM.
It bested the offers of Neptune Hydro Inc., Global Hydro Power Corp., Panasia Energy Inc., GigaAce 11 Inc., Belgrove Power Corp., a consortium comprising EEI Power Corporation, Soosan ENS. Co. Ltd., Soosan Industries Co. Ltd., Mapalad Power Corporation and Semirara Mining and Power Corp.
The CHEPP was turned over to the government in 2021 after the 20-year build-operate-transfer scheme between the CE Casecnan Water and Energy Co. Inc. and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) lapsed on December 11, 2021. It was then placed under the co-ownership of PSALM and NIA, which represents the government's interest at 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
The state firm is confident that the sale of the Casecnan plant will be successful, efficient and judicious for PSALM and the winning bidder who will take over its management.
The CHEPP is a 'run-of-river' type of plant with limited impounding area. The water from the reservoir flows into the plant's powerhouse, down to the Pantabangan lake and into the irrigation channels of the NIA, which will continue its mandate of irrigating farmlands even after the privatization of the CHEPP.