Cheaper electricity rates and round-the-clock power supply were some of promises made by the Solar Para Sa Bayan (SPSB) franchise but residents of Occidental Mindoro were met with the opposite.
This was what the Philippine and Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) revealed in a post during a site visit in selected municipalities of Occidental Mindoro, including municipalities of Paluan and Cabra Island in Lubang.
Residents Sitio Tikian, Sitio Igsuzu, and Sitio Absukot of Barangay Tubili were reportedly experiencing an average of two to three long periods of brownouts, as well as frequent on and off power outages everyday.
This resulted in damaged or broken appliances, PHILRECA reported.
“Madalas ang brownouts dito, usually kapag madaling araw at hapon pero wala man lang abiso. Biglaan nalang, sa sobrang regular, nakapag-adjust na kami”, a resident was quoted as saying in PHILRECA’s investigation.
Livelihoods were also affected due to SPSB’s failure to deliver its power supply services.
“Ito lang naman pinagkakakitaan ko, hindi na nagyeyelo yung freezer paano pa ako magtitinda,” a resident reportedly said.
In terms of the SPSB’s rates, the offering rate was around P2.34 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the services rendered in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro. It was then changed to half of what other electric cooperatives are offering.
However, the current running rate for SPSB’s services is around P10.97 per kWh, an average from the 20 households visited by PHILRECA.
“Sa una, mababa lang ang singil samin pero nung tumagal, pataas na ng pataas. Halos parehas lang naman nung dati (rates of EC), minsan mas mahal pa nga (rates of SPSBC),” a concerned residents reportedly told PHILRECA.
PHILRECA also made the following observations aside from the problems experienced by the residents:
SPSB didn’t install additional lines to reach all the consumers in the area, as a result SPSB is using the distribution system of OMECO.
The location of the SPSB’s solar farm is a flood prone area, which can be dangerous particularly for electrical operations.
PHILRECA now questions if SPSB corporation really deserves a national franchise with the alleged disservice they did to the resident of Occidental Mindoro.
“How can Leviste’s company provide better services at lower costs on a national scope when it cannot meet the promises it made to Paluan and Cabra Island in Lubang , Mindoro Occidental?,” the association concluded in their report.
Power Philippines has reached out to SPSB for comment.