Manila Senator Juan Miguel Zuberi said electric cooperatives (ECs) should start thinking outside the box about how to lower electricity prices in their concession areas.
This, after the Senate approved the final reading of House Bill (HB) 10554 late Monday, to expand the concession area of Davao Light and Power Company Inc. (DLPC).
DLPC will operate for another 25 years, not only in Davao City, Carmen, Panabo, Dugale and Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte, but also in the existing concession area of Northern Mindanao Electric Cooperatives (Nordeco) which includes Tagum City, Garden City Island of Samal and Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro, and Talaingod.
Nordeco, formerly known as Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, originally covered 16 municipalities and two cities in the departments of Compostela Valley (now Davao de Oro) and Davao del Norte.
Al-Zubayri, who heads the Cooperatives Committee, said he supports the cooperative sector, especially the European groups, but lamented that there had been some dereliction in their duties.
“Let’s support the European communities that are making progress in lowering prices for their customers. But for those who have already remained satisfied, na hindi na nila binababa, ‘yan ang dapat tutukan din natin at sabihin sa kanila kawawa naman’ yung mga consumers Mu. Baka kaya siguro nanatiling mahihirap ‘yung mga lugar na’ to (That wasn’t able to bring prices down, that’s what we should focus on and ask them to think about the welfare of consumers. Maybe that’s why these areas have remained poor), he said during Monday’s session.
Al-Zubayri looks forward to meeting representatives of the European groups that are expected to lobby for the extension of their privileges at the 19th Congress.
“Those who are deserving and are making efforts to lower the cost of electricity, let us support them. But those who did not act, were only collecting their bonuses and salaries, and already became a burden on the communities, perhaps this is something we should either help fix or if not, we provide solutions “.
Re-elected Senator Sherwin Gachalian, who abstained, said that even when the Duterte Northern Davao task force stepped in to help Nordeco in 2017 and began improving from Class C to Class B EC in 2019, it was still unable to meet the rule-of-system standard And she was suffering. Through instantaneous and continuous interruptions.
The head of the energy commission said these issues could be better addressed by optimizing capital expenditures, but Nordeco is also struggling to collect them, achieving only 61 percent last year as its liabilities grew to Php 4.9 billion.
“I cannot conscientiously vote for this measure knowing that 98,911 families in Davao del Norte will have better services, but 102,621 families in Davao de Oro will see an increase in electricity prices. Because of these reasons, he abstained,” Gachalian said.
Senator Risa Hontiferos, who was re-elected, said her vote was not against the DLPC but for Nordico and all European countries of similar status.
Nordeco itself will be the first to admit that the management dispute that has affected its operations in the past decade has also had a severe and negative impact on consumers. However, by canceling Nordeco’s franchise seemingly through the expansion of another benefit distribution franchise into Nordeco’s concession area Are we exposing Nordeco consumer members, as well as employers, to greater risk and uncertainty?” she said.
Senator Grace Boe thanked her colleagues for supporting the measure, especially Senate Pro Temporary Speaker Ralph Ricto, her co-author, for defending it.
Recto, citing information from the Public Services Commission chaired by Poe, said earlier that Nordeco’s overall performance is poor, given its systems loss is roughly 19 percent compared to just 5 percent of DLPC’s.
“That is why there is a clamor among the business community in Davao del Norte, among representatives, among local government officials, among all the mayors and the governor, to move their concession area from Nordeco to DLPC, not to mention DLPC offering electricity rates roughly PHP3 cheaper or 25% cheaper percent,” Ricto said previously.
HB 10554 was composed by Representatives Franz Alvarez of Palawan, Pantalion Alvarez of Davao del Norte, Jericho Nograles of the PBA List, and Xavier Romualdo of Camiguin.
It was passed by the House of Representatives on January 24. (Palestinian National Authority)
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