Albay gov supports private take-over of debt-ridden power coop

Following his official proclamation, newsmen seemingly more interested about Albay Gov. Salceda, than the issue why the governor was officially proclaimed despite zero canvass.PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL/BICOLTODAY.COM

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, 5Aug2013 – To resolve the never-ending disconnection threat against the Albay Electric Cooperative, Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda is pushing for its privatization to ensure continuous supply of power in the province.

“I support the ongoing National Electric Administration-managed process of privatization of the Aleco management to achieve our second goal after power restoration: ensure continuous supply of power. We are grateful to Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for his kindness, and we support his energy reforms,” Salceda said.

Petilla had earlier told reporters in Manila that four companies, including the Meralco group and San Miguel Corp., are interested to participate in the rehabilitation plan for the debt-ridden electric cooperative.

The others are Aboitiz, which operates the Tiwi geothermal plant, and SM, which owns NGCP and is a partner of Aboitiz at the holding company level.

The people of Albay and its politicians should set aside politics and worked together to restore power in favor of economic development, Salceda said.

The Albay governor, the Albay Mayors League headed by Legazpi City Mayor Noel B. Rosal and the representatives of the three districts of the province — Grecon Lagman (1st District), Al Francis Bichara (2nd District) and Fernando Gonzalez (3rd Distirct) – have worked hard for the restoration of power supply in the province, which was cut off on Tuesday noon by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) after ALeco failed to pay the June electric bill balance of P56 million to the Philippine Electricity Market Corp.

Salceda directly worked with Petilla while the Mayors League of Albay and the three congressmen came up with doable solution, bringing power supply back at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Rosal met on Wednesday morning with Aleco project supervisor Veronica Briones appealing to the NEA to facilitate the release of a loan amounting to P36 million to Aleco in order to bail the electric cooperative out of its current bill for June.

During the meeting, creditors of Aleco agreed to momentarily restore the power connection on several conditions.

Two of these conditions are: 1) for Aleco to cut power supply to the top 100 delinquent accounts and 2) for the Aleco to settle the July consumption billing from PEMC by Aug. 1.

Aside from this current electric billing, Aleco has an outstanding debt of P1 billion with PEMC.

To date, Aleco has about P4-billion debt to several entities that include the PEMC, NEA and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.

It owes PSALM P2.026 billion with an interest rate of 8.73 percent per annum; PEMC, P1.2 billion with an interest rate of 2.7 percent; Transco, P140 million with 9 percent interest rate; NEA, P220 million with 8 percent interest; and NGCP, P56 million with 9.8 interest rate per annum.(PNA)


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