Partylist of electric coops thumbs down extension of no-disconnection policy

Where do we get reliable and affordable energy supply

The Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), a partylist group in the House of Representatives, said on Wednesday that suspending the no-disconnection policy indefinitely could actually do more harm than good.

“Eventually, [the no disconnection policy] will redound to the detriment of our economy,” said APEC Rep. Sergio Dagooc.

The solon’s statement comes amid calls by some legislators, including Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros, to further extend the said policy. Gatchalian is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.

The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), the country’s largest distribution utility (DU), did not extend its no-disconnection policy, which ended on January 31. However, MERALCO said that disconnections are not its priority.

Dagooc added that if a DU or an electric cooperative fails to pay their obligations to their suppliers such as generating companies (gencos), then the latter would not be able to pay their maturing obligations and would be unable to buy fuel or feedstock.

He further pointed out that the economy will definitely be affected if gencos are unable to procure their fuel or feedstock.

He also emphasized that a malfunction or disruption in the supply chain could happen if power utilities do not get to pay the generating companies because of their customers ballooning arrears.

“While distribution [utilities] and electric cooperatives may have varying financial capabilities to sustain their operations without revenues, nevertheless all consumers, with or without arrears, will still be affected when the entire power supply chain becomes unsustainable,” Dagooc said.