The Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendation to review the legislative franchises of at least 17 electric cooperatives was revoked due to alleged procedural lapses.
The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) said that the action was done “without prior consultation with the concerned electric cooperatives.”
The endorsement “was done in haste and in the absence of due diligence on the part of the Department of Energy,” the group added.
While the call to review the performance of ECs was met with support from the Senate Energy Committee, chairman Senator Sherwin Gatchalian noted that the agency needed a “clear policy and procedure on the recommendation for revocation before actually submitting their recommendation to Congress.”
The energy department has announced to the media that it will perform a comprehensive review of the ECs’ performance. After that, it can only recommend revocation or cancellation of specific franchises.
However, there are claims that DOE is not in the position to recommend such action to Congress, instead it must refer such concerns to National Electrification Administration (NEA) for it to invoke its step-in right into these “poor performing” ECs.
On the other hand, Gatchalian said it is about time for them to observe the performance of these power utilities, specifically their operation and in rendering service to consumers.
“I believe Congress’ assessment will impose greater accountability on these underperforming distribution utilities to the benefit of the consumers,” he told Manila Bulletin.
More than 12 million power customers are being served by the country’s electric cooperatives. However, many in their service areas are still receiving complaints about rolling brownouts and inefficient services.
Gatchalian noted at least seven ECs that had been categorized as “ailing” or those with “D” rating, others were labeled as “underperforming” ECs, based on data from the National Electrification Administration.