The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) is calling for the resignation of Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi for his alleged incompetence and ignorance of the law.
In a statement published on Philreca’s Facebook page, Cusi is allegedly “biased with preconceived negative notions against electric cooperatives preference to private for-profit corporations; abuse of power; lack of genuine knowledge regarding rural electrification and cooperativism, and failure to recognize the success and gains of rural electrification and development not just because of the government through the National Electrification Administration but most especially because of electric cooperatives commissioned and considered implementing arm of the government.”
The group is also alleging that Cusi has repeatedly refused the help offered by some legislators to restore the budget cut of National Electrification Administration (NEA), saying that cooperatives have enough profits to implement missionary electrification.
The budget cut amounting to P635 million could help the administration’s goal to totally electrify the country by 2022, Philreca said.
Cusi also allegedly showed his preference for private profit-corporation by endorsing Solar Para Sa Bayan (SPSB) as a national franchise despite of the legal and constitutional issues against the firm’s application.
Several power players were alarmed by the energy secretary’s endorsement of SPSB’s nationwide franchise application.
According to the power players, proposed House Bill 8179 runs against the goal of Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.
A group of electric cooperatives noted that the bill which will grant SPSB nationwide franchise because it “effectively grants a monopoly and exempts one private company from the rules of competition and oversight provided under EPIRA and the RE (Renewable Energy) Act.”
The will allow Solar Para Sa Bayan “to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain distributable power technologies and mini-grid systems throughout the Philippines to improve access to sustainable energy.”
Industry players said they will file a temporary restraining order (TRO) to the Supreme Court if the proposed bill will be passed.
Philreca also took issue with the energy secretary recommendation to revoke the franchises of 17 electric cooperatives (ECs) without consulting the ECs concerned and giving them due process.
In a separate report, Cusi was quoted as saying that this was part of the department’s efforts to to improve the power services in the the provinces by enhancing the services of the electric cooperatives.
Many ECs had reportedly 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).
Despite Cusi revoking his recommendation to cancel the questioned franchises, Philreca denounced his earlier proposal, saying it was “made without even giving due process to the electric cooperatives.”
“Sec. Cusi’s incompetence and ignorance of the law, biases and negative notions against electric cooperatives, preference to private for-profit corporations, abuse of power, and lack of genuine knowledge regarding rural electrification and cooperativism, there is no way that electric cooperatives can be treated with justice and fairness while he is in power at the Department of Energy,” the group concluded in their statement.
The energy secretary is yet to comment on Philreca’s statements.
Power Philippines has reached out to DOE for a statement. This is still a developing story.