PASAY CITY – The National Electrification Administration (NEA) disclosed that two of the five ailing electric cooperatives (ECs) are based in the Cordillera.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong claimed the two alleged ailing ECs in the region are the Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO), which is suffering from various problems ranging from management to operational issues and concerns, and the Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative (KAELCO), which is reportedly being hounded by internal problems.
The NEA already took over management and operation of ABRECO through an inter-cooperative management team to help improve its efficiency in providing quality power to the consumers within its franchise area. Innovations are now being introduced to lessen its huge systems loss among other priority concerns.
Aside from the two ailing ECs in the region, Masongsong added that the other problematic ECs are the Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO), Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO) and the Zamboanga Electric Cooperative (ZAMRECO).
Despite the takeover of the San Miguel Group of Bicol-based ALECO, the NEA official explained there are still numerous issues and concerns confronting the operation of the EC which is being already assessed and evaluated by the agency.
On the other hand, he explained that LASURECO is confronted with high systems loss and billing and collection problems, resulting to alleged unsettled loans and thus the need for a review and overhaul of the EC’s overall system. ZAMRECO is now the subject of a public bidding for an investment management contract (IMC) with interested private sector partners.
Of the 121 ECs, Masongsong reported 102 ECs are classified as class A, AA and AAA which indicates that their performances are above industry standards. Sixteen ECs are reported to have been upgraded from their previous classifications.
He mentioned that in the case of Pampanga Electric Cooperative (PELCO) 2, which was taken over by the Pangilinan-owned MERALCO, the EC is now doing well in terms of management and operation over the past several years. It serves to illustrate one of the successes of a private sector takeover of an alleged ailing EC.
Presidential Decree 269 created the NEA and the ECs primarily to implement the government’s rural electrification program to contribute in efforts to increase economic activities in the countryside and improve the living condition of the people. The same was amended by Republic Act (RA) 10531 that strengthened its mandate.
Masongsong emphasized that almost all of the unviable areas within the franchise area of ECs are either located in mountainous villages and those in off-grid communities where the cost of bringing power is huge compared to the income to be derived from the limited number of consumers in said places.
He argued that aside from the private sector taking over the energization of unviable areas within the franchise of ECs, it is important for the said ECs to be innovative to become globally competitive in the highly technical industry. By HENT