MERALCO PowerGen Corp. (MGen), the distribution utility’s power generation arm, has stepped up the development of its baseload plant in Atimonan with the crafting of a comprehensive land use plan for the town in Quezon province.

The company said its unit Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E) along with Grandt Planners, Inc. turned over the land use plan to leaders of the local government unit.

It described the power plant as “among the key infrastructures expected to rise in Atimonan in the future.”

“We all agree that what we want to happen in Atimonan is for the common good of everyone,” said Rogelio L. Singson, MGEN president and chief executive officer, during the turnover event.

He said MGen aspires to set a standard of excellence not only in power plant operations but also in developing and engaging host communities to make them progressive and sustainable.

MGen said Atimonan’s land use plan is a product of a series of discussions and planning sessions that were conducted in 2018. It described the plan as “a document prepared by cities and municipalities to rationalize the allocation and proper use of its land resources.”

The plan also maps out the public and private land uses, which will be enacted through a zoning ordinance. The assistance for the development of the plan was provided for in an underlying memorandum agreement between A1E and the Atimonan local government.

Under the agreement, A1E provided assistance in the preparation of a study that optimizes socioeconomic benefits from the power plant development. A1E tapped Grandt Planners as a third-party consultant to aid the municipality in development strategies that can serve as basis for the land use plan and zoning ordinances.

Grandt Planners and A1E provided assistance for the development of the plan, which charts Atimonan’s development as an agro-industrial center, anchored on agriculture and tourism.

MGen quoted Atimonan Mayor Rustico Joven Mendoza, who led the local leaders, as saying: “This [comprehensive land use plan] seeks to achieve a synchronized development, supported by an adaptive infrastructure system in Atimonan.”

A1E is awaiting the regulator’s approval of its power supply agreement, which remains hanging as the Energy Regulatory Commission deferred to the Supreme Court’s decision before clearing the application.

The agreement had been questioned in court because of the timing of its filing, which was just before rules on competitive selection process (CSP) were issued.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Victor V. Saulon