SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday said Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) should respect its agreement, after the latter continued to demand the settlement of supposed unpaid debts on its Ilijan power plant even with a pending court case.

“This is bullying. They cannot just dictate on what works best for them. We have to follow due process,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said during a media roundtable at the SMC headquarters on Tuesday.

Mr. Ang said PSALM cannot unilaterally decide on the issue, and should wait for the court’s decision.

“We continuously honor our obligations. In return, we only ask that they respect the sanctity of our agreement,” he said.

The SMC chief was reacting to PSALM’s insistence on pursuing collection efforts against the company over the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan power plant in Batangas.

The company debunked PSALM’s claims that it owes P19.75 billion in unpaid dues, adding PSALM has also already gained P34.75 billion from its administration agreement with South Luzon Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC).

SMC, through its SPPC, reiterated that it has paid PSALM P289.10 billion or $6.19 billion in various fees since 2010, when it signed its independent power producer administration agreement.

SMC earlier said that the amount it paid for capacity fees alone, which is equivalent to about $2 billion, is already enough to pay for the 20-year-old power plant, while a brand-new plant with the same capacity could be built for so much less.

“We are just wondering what PSALM did with all the money they made out of our administration agreement on Ilijan since 2010? The public has a right to know, we all have a right to know how they are running things there,” Mr. Ang said, adding “these are funds that government should have put to good use such as vital public services and social programs.”

IPPAs are qualified private entities that manage the output from energy conversion and power purchase agreements that the National Power Corp. (Napocor) entered into with independent power producers.

They are appointed through public auctions conducted by PSALM.

To recall, SMC, through SPPC, filed a court case against PSALM in 2015 after the latter terminated the Ilijan IPPA due to differences in computation of generation charges. However, the move was enjoined by the courts. — Janina C. Lim