LEGAZPI CITY, 29June2013 (PNA) – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has postponed its scheduled disconnection of electric power supply to the Albay Electric Cooperative, which failed to settle its two-month electric bills worth P170 million, an Aleco officer said Friday.
The NGCP made the decision to defer its scheduled power cutoff after Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla on Thursday approved the joint request of the League of Municipalities and the League of Cities to defer its action as requested by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation, Hazel Morallos, Aleco spokesperson explained.
In a phone interview, Morallos said the letter of the two leagues was jointly signed by Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal, League of Cities president and Daraga Mayor Gerry Jaucian, League of Municipalities of Albay president.
She said the two groups of local government units asked Petilla to give some considerable time for the electric cooperative to find ways to raise funds to settle its account with the PEMC.
Rosal and Jaucian also reasoned out that the new and re-elected local officials of the province, its 15 towns and its three cities will hold their respective inaugural ceremonies to mark the start of their new terms of office.
Another reason was that the province was scheduled to hold a big event yesterday by attempting to form the “World Largest Human No Smoking Sign” for the Guinness World Records at the Bicol University football grounds in this city.
Morallos said after considering the request, the PEMC gave the cooperative until July 3 to settle its account or else it will carry out the disconnection order.
She said Aleco owes the PEMC, a power supplier of the cooperative, some P170 million in electric bills for the months of April and May this year.
The Aleco management is currently under the supervision of the National Electrification Administration after the cooperative suffered huge financial losses due to mismanagement, high systems loss and antiquated power transformers and other equipment.
Aleco’s current systems loss is 25.17 percent, way above the 13-percent allowable cap by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The systems loss amounts to P14.16 million a month, or P300 million annually, which should have instead contributed to Aleco’s payments to its power suppliers.
The cooperative’s collection efficiency is only 85 percent of sales and this is insufficient to cover the monthly operation as result of the high systems loss.
At present, Aleco has close to P4 billion outstanding bills from various power producers and suppliers — the National Power Corporation, PEMC, Wholesale Electricity Spot Market and the NEA.
The Aleco interim board led by Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi claimed that in order to bail out the financially ill cooperative, it is pushing for the adoption of a Private Sector Participation scheme where a concessionaire will manage the problem-laden power cooperative.
Under the PSP option, Aleco shall enter into contract with a private company that will manage and run it for the next 25 years.
The PSP scheme, however, has not pushed through after a group of electric power consumers filed a civil case at a regional trial court here, which subsequently issued a temporary restraining order against the PSP plan. (PNA)