IFC Willing to Finance Purchase of Olongapo Power Distributor
The International Finance Corporation, the investments arm of the World Bank Group, is open to funding the planned acquisition of the electric power distribution system of Olongapo City by Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (Cepalco).
In an interview with reporters, IFC Resident Representative Jesse Ang said “IFC is prepared to consider financing of Cepalco's acquisition of Olongapo utility" although "nothing is concrete yet."
IFC earlier worked with the Olongapo government to mobilize private sector participation in a transparent bidding process for the rehabilitation, management, operation, maintenance and expansion of the electricity distribution utility.
The Olongapo Public Utilities Department sold 139 gigawatthours of electricity to approximately 41,000 customers in 2008. The average peak demand in 2008 was at 28.6 megawatts.
“Having an efficient and viable electricity distribution company for a major city like Olongapo is key to the city’s development as it enables it to attract new businesses, which will result in more jobs and a better quality of life for thousands of families,” Ang said.
Cepalco won the bid to supply electricity to Olongapo for $13.3 million (P610.5 million) in August. It paid 50 percent of the sale price and will pay the remaining amount after the company acquires a new franchise from the Philippine Congress.
“This public-private partnership deal for Olongapo’s power system addresses the demand for reliable supply of electricity by local people and businesses,” Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr said.
He added that, “given the government’s limited resources, it is only through private sector management that modernization and improved services can be achieved.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. (JAL) mb.com.ph