PHILIPPINE POWER AND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, (PHILPODECO) is an electric utility which pioneered in mini-hydro plant operation since November 02, 1927. Sometime in 1925 an American Engineer, Louis Lester Vincent from Iowa, USA and a former teacher in Batangas High School Engr. Leroy H. Thompson from Florida and Michigan, USA conceived the idea of harnessing the small mountain streams flowing down the rugged Banahaw slope between the towns of Nagcarlan and Lilio in Laguna province. Then a modest group of enterprising Filipinos company built the first mini-hydro electric plant now known as BALUGBOG Hydro Plant in Nagcarlan, Laguna in 1928. This served the neighboring towns in Rizal, Nagcarlan, and Liliw, Laguna. While MERALCO was then building its Botocan Hydro Plant, it drew electricity used during the construction from PHILPODECO. The same hydro plant supplied electricity to the City of San Pablo for considerable period after liberation. PHILPODECO also built its Tulo Hydro Plant in Calamba, Laguna in 1938, then PALAK Hydro Plant at Calauan, Laguna in 1939 and the last, CALIBATO Hydro Plant in San Pablo in 1940. The company also purchased the Sta. Cruz Electric Plant in Sta. Cruz, Laguna in 1939 and Sto. Tomas Electric Plant in Sto. Tomas, Batangas in 1944. The combined generated powers from these hydro plants supplied electricity in the municipalities of Majayjay, Magdalena, Sta. Cruz, Pila, Victoria, Bay, Los Banos, Calamba all in Laguna province and Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
PHILPODECO underwent all kinds of difficulties during the war. Although run by the Americans, jointly with their Filipino counterparts, PHILPODECO was not extended a helping by the Liberations Forces. It was no surprise therefore that the quality of its service suffered during the early years after liberation. However, by 1948, diesel-electric units were installed to boost the supply and by 1952 the 2,000 KVA dieasel peaking plant at Barrio Lecheria in Calamba, Laguna was well under way. When NPC power became available at their Calamba substation in 1959, PHILPODECO contracted to purchase a portion of its power from NPC. As of 1961, PHILPODECO served 39% of the people in Laguna province, 24 hours a day. Twelve million kilowatt hourse of energy was transacted, 70% of which was produced by PHILPODECO plants while the rest was purchased from Botocan and NPC.
PHILPODECO supplied electricity in the eleven municipalities of Laguna until 1983 when MERALCO took over its distribution lines by virtue of a Presidential Decree by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Most if its employees were accredited for employment by MERALCO. Meralco could not buy the hydropower plants as the law then precluded a distributor like Meralco to be a power generator. Philpodeco continued to operate these three plants, supplying bulk power to Meralco since July 1, 1983 up to today.
As a member of PASSHYDRO, PHILPODECO hydro plants are often visited by students from various universities in Manila, who are often amazed about the existence of the mini-hydro plants in Laguna.