For Sale: La Union power firm

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – La Union officials led by Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III have agreed to sell the 225 megawatts bunker-fired Bauang Private Power Corporation (BPPC) in Barangay Payocpoc , Bauang town.

In 2008, the P57-billion BPPC, now being rented by 1590 Energy Corporation, was taken over by the La Union government after the Supreme Court resolved with finality that it had not paid its taxes and penalties amounting to P1.866 billion since 1995.

BPPC was declared property of the provincial government after it was auctioned on February 1, 2008 at the Provincial Capitol here.

There was no single bidder that participated in the public auction, so the power firm was automatically sold to the provincial government.

“Governor Ortega, the provincial board members and other provincial officials have agreed to sell the power firm because we lack the capacity to operate the facility. This (selling of the power plant) was the original plan when Gov. Manuel Ortega was still in position,” provincial board member Reynaldo Mosuela said.

The La Union government, after completing all the legal procedures in order to collect the taxes of BPPC’s equipment and buildings, the public auction was conducted to collect some P1.866 billions in taxes and penalties.

The provincial government decided then to auction the power firm when Gov. Manuel Ortega did not approve BPPC’s request to pay only ten percent of the total assessment level.

The BPPC’s 10 percent request was allegedly based on payments made by several power plants to the National Power Corporation (Napocor) which is a special assessment accorded to “government-owned and controlled corporations.

On June 20, 2007, the SC’s Third Division resolved with finality the October 4, 2006 decision of the First Division denying BPPC’s petition challenging the assessment made by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals.

“The Court resolves to deny for lack of merit petitioner’s motion. No further pleadings shall be entertained in this case. Let the entry of judgment be made in due course,” the decision reads partly.

It was learned that BPPC did not pay the said taxes, insisting it was Napocor’s responsibility. Jun