BANTAY SARADO: DOE to review franchise compliance of electric cooperatives

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Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has issued a review of the compliance of power coops to the service requirements of their own franchises.

The review will be done after the withdrawal of the recommendation to cancel/revoke the franchise of 17 electric cooperatives (ECs). In addition, this is part of the energy department’s efforts to polish the power services being provided in the provinces.

Several ECs have failed to implement their mandate due to inefficient management, corruption, unnecessary political involvement, and institutional conflict as the case of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco).

The department will also review the increase in missionary subsidies in Occidental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Marinduque, and Tablas, among others.

Cusi said he would get in touch with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to see the technical and financial performance reports of ECs in the last five years.

ECs will also be requested to submit their road maps and strategies in terms of improving their services, operations, and economic viability in the next three years.

“The review will be an inclusive process. We will ask the ECs to identify their main challenges and work with them in determining long-term and sustainable solutions. For transparency purposes, the results of the review will be made available to the public,” Cusi told Philstar.

Task forces may be created to help the underperforming ECs.

Meanwhile, non-performing ECs may get their franchises cancelled by DOE.

“As we seek to attain total electrification of the country by 2020, we will ensure that all operating ECs are providing the best services to their consumers. Our fellow countrymen deserves nothing less,” Cusi said.

The country’s umbrella group for ECs Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (Philreca) slammed Cusi for his recommendation to the House of Representatives last Jan. 11 the cancellation of franchise of 17 ECs which were “underperforming and financially and technically distressed.”

“Such recommendation was made without even giving due process to the electric cooperatives,” Philreca said.

Other power coops that are involved are Abra Electric Cooperative, Albay Electric Cooperative, Basilan Electric Cooperative, Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, Masbate Electric Cooperative, Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Palawan Electric Cooperative, Pampanga III Electric Cooperative, Sulu Electric Cooperative, Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative, Ticao Island Electric Cooperative and Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative.

However, the recommendation to Congress had already been withdrawn, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.

“The DOE sees the need to further evaluate and assess the present status and performance of the 17 electric cooperatives,” he said.

ECs and NEA have successfully energized 78 provinces (100 percent), 1,475 cities and municipalities (100 percent), 36,057 barangays (99 percent), 123,198 sitios (83 percent); and 12,713 million household connections (85 percent).

 

Meanne Rosales is a reporter and segment producer at Power Philippines. For content concerns, story pitches, or partnerships and collaborations, you may contact her through meanne@powerphilippines.com.

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