Energy Dep’t says gov’t continues asisting ailing power cooperative

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By Joann Santiago

MANILA, 30July2013 – The Department of Energy (DOE) lamented the disconnection of the debt-laden Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ALECO) about noontime Monday.

To date, the electric cooperative has about P4 billion debt to several entities that include the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), the National Power Corporation (Napocor), and the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, in a statement, said the government “is continuously assisting ailing electric cooperatives (ECs) such as the Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ALECO) to ensure the continued power service to their consumers and resolve their accumulated arrearages due the power generators and transmission service provider.”

“However, private power generation entities inevitably avail of the remedy of disconnection of some distribution utilities in order to minimize losses in the event of non-payment and to stop the further accumulation of debts,” he pointed out.

Petilla explained that this is so because the “power generators have likewise obligations to their creditors, while the financial viability of the WESM must be ensured.

For ALECO, in particular, the Energy chief said it has been discussing with PEMC, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the NEA on how to resolve the problem of the electric cooperative and prevent any disconnection.

He disclosed that “there has been continued discussion on the appropriate restructuring/rehabilitation program for ALECO including ways and means to mitigate the impact to its consumers.”

He, however, did not elaborate.

Earlier, Petilla said ALECO is not the only electric cooperative that continues to accumulate unpaid dues but pointed out that the number of erring cooperatives is only about five percent of the total nationwide.

“The DOE appeals for the cooperation from the public, ailing ECs and power generators to place the welfare of the consumers in their decisions affecting the power supply,” he added. (PNA)

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