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PSALM reduces debt by 9.5% by end-2020

THE Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) ended 2020 with principal financial obligations amounting to P381.91 billion or lower by 9.5% compared with the level at the start of last year.

In a press release on Wednesday, PSALM said that it had reduced its debts by P40.103 billion, which was “much more than its target of P10.18 billion for 2020.” At the start of the year, its total obligations stood at P422.01 billion.

“PSALM also paid all interests and borrowing costs that matured in 2020 totaling P11.56 billion,” the state-led entity said.

PSALM cited these figures in its accomplishment report, which was forwarded to Department of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who chairs the company’s board.

In its report, PSALM said that it was able to collect deferred privatization proceeds worth P38.66 billion from independent power producer administrators and from concession payments from the power transmission business.

Last year, it was able to sell 10 real estate assets in various parts of the country, as the government-owned entity logged revenues of P51.65 million. Among the land assets, which it was able to privatize, are those located in Agusan, Bukidnon; Maco, Davao de Oro; Nasipit, Agusan del Norte; Loboc, Bohol; and Camalaniugan, Cagayan.

PSALM was also able to raise P36.45 million from selling its other disposable assets, such as retired equipment and scrap materials.

In its latest status report on the implementation of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, the Department of Energy (DoE) said that PSALM would seek approval in pursuing a negotiated sale for the 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power plant in Pililla, Rizal.

The Energy department said that the rarely used plant, which has seen three failed rounds of bidding, costs around P1.2 billion a year to maintain, starting in 2010.

In 2014, the DoE classified the Malaya plant as a “must-run” unit, or a generating unit that can only operate when needed for energy security.

The department added that while Malaya was running between 2015 and 2019, PSALM incurred average yearly net losses of around P556 million. — Angelica Y. Yang

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