By Joey Natividad
PILI, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/8-Jan-12) – Opinionated Board members in the Camarines Sur Provincial Board aired their concern that the provincial government should be consulted by the power sector on matters affecting the consumers who are also their constituents.
This came about when CASURECO 1 (Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative), base in Libmanan, gave the Board notice that the power cooperative had entered into a contract for power generation supply with the San Miguel Energy Corporation, a procedure required by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
This ERC ruling has caught the ire of Board Member Angel Naval who lamented that the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur should not be only “for your information” level basis, and, he bewailed upon learning that the LGU has neither authority nor power to question the transactions forged by power cooperatives and energy providers, including raising of electricity rates.
Naval stressed that power consumers are also the constituency of the province and their concerns must be addressed properly by the Camarines Sur provincial government.
Ernie Verdadero, noted Capitol political observer, agreed with Naval’s views and opined that the provincial government function should not be restricted only to ” ministerial” level.
The Board session on Monday heard CASURECO 1 general manager Ana Sylvia Alsisto and its President Romeo Gontang who tried to explain before the Board members, in session, over its contract with San Miguel Energy Corporation.
The power cooperative wants the Board, or Vice-Governor Fortunato Peña, to issue the coop Certification that the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur was formally notified. The certification is a requirement from the ERC, such request is only ministerial in behalf of the local government.
This ERC ruling caught the ire of Board Member Naval, and he gave stress that the ERC must change its policy on matters that seriously affect the province-wide constituency who are also power consumers.
In the power sector, the most sensitive issue is the power rate which can prime up local economic growth, or could cause an economic slowdown. Lower power rates in rural areas can prime up business activities, while high electricity costs can discourage local investors from entrepreneurial activities.
There are four (4) power cooperatives in the province. There are no reports if other provinces in the Bicol Region would follow Camarines Sur’s move to lobby ERC to change its policy. BicolToday.com
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