Electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country are opposing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) move to cancel the legislative-issued franchises of at least 17 ECs.
The energy department confirmed the submission of the franchise cancellation proposal, but said that it was eventually withdrawn for further review.
However, the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) is still bothered by the franchise cancellation threat, which the group claimed was started by DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi via an endorsement to Congress and channeled through House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The involved ECs had been tagged in Congress as “underperforming and financially and technically distressed.”
PHILRECA said that “this unjust and biased recommendation was done without prior consultation with the concerned electric cooperatives.”
They further said that the endorsement “was done in haste and in the absence of due diligence on the part of the Department of Energy,” and when Cusi realized that it was a mistake, the DOE was urged to revoke and recall the franchises’ cancellation proposal.
“While we believe that recalling and revoking the original endorsement is the right thing to do, we cannot help but express our sentiments because his actions have already caused significant damage and irreparable negative impression to the ECs,” PHILRECA said in a statement quoted by Manila Bulletin.
Cusi has been in a never-ending fight with the ECs, as the department is becoming to be a lenient ally of investors interested to provide their services.
As a result, ECs are doubtful about the process and reviews the DOE is implementing.
“All these claims fall short of what the Secretary has been doing for the past months. Early last year, he has consistently declined restoring the budget cuts to the government’s sitio electrification program,” PHILRECA said.
“The endorsement letter to the House of Representatives and the DOE statement are meant to serve one purpose and one purpose alone: to manipulate the mindset of the public for them to think that the electric cooperatives are not performing well. And with this comes the justification on the entry of private, for-profit and zero-experience corporations,” the group added.