FOUR companies expressed interest in participating in the auction for the 650-megawatt Malaya Thermal Power Plant (MTPP) and its underlying land in Pililia, Rizal, according to the Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).

In a statement on Friday, PSALM said Panasia Energy, Inc., Phinma Energy Corp., Hill Trench Power, Inc. and Therma Central Visayas Inc. sent representatives to the pre-bid conference held on Thursday.

“The pre-bid conference enabled interested bidders to ask questions and request for clarifications relative to the bidding requirements. This is integral to ensuring that the bidders can eventually submit bids and documents that are responsive to technical requirements of PSALM,” PSALM President and CEO Irene Besido-Garcia said.

The MTPP was declared a Must Run Unit (MRU) in 2014 by the Department of Energy. It is not allowed to compete with the private sector unless the private firms’ reserves are below their minimum level.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines currently operates the MTTP.

After privatization, the Department of Energy stated that the MTTP will no longer be required to run as an MRU.

PSALM declared a failed auction for the MTPP last Sept. 18, after only one bid, from the Ayala-owned AC Energy Inc., was received.

For the new auction, the last day for submission of documentary deliverables is on Nov. 7, which PSALM would check for qualification. Qualified bidders would be informed of the reserve price.

The deadline for submission of bids is 12 noon on Nov. 22. The bids will be opened and evaluated on the same day.

In the event that only one bid is received, the PSALM Bids and Awards Committee will declare a second failure of bidding, and will immediately hold a negotiation with the lone bidder. — Jenina P. Ibañez