by Riza T. Olchondra, 24 June 2015
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sunwest Water and Electric Co. (Suweco) is all set to implement its power supply agreements with First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative Inc. (Ficelco) and the missionary area of Tablas Island in Romblon.
In separate orders, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) authorized Suweco to supply power to Ficelco and Tablas Island since the supply from National Power Corp.-Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG) was deemed “inadequate.”
The island-province of Catanduanes is experiencing intermittent power interruptions, causing losses to local businesses and undue discomfort to residential consumers.
Such a situation needs a solution, even a temporary one, for the thousands of the member-consumers of Ficelco, the ERC said.
However, the Department of Energy (DOE) has yet to confirm whether Ficelco’s agreement with Suweco was arrived at via competitive bidding, which is a condition for entitlement to subsidies for missionary areas.
The ERC said that since the DOE was taking a long time to certify the transaction between Ficelco and Suweco amid the urgent situation, ERC ordered that the subsidy be applied to their power supply agreement so that the benefit could be passed on to consumers in the form of lower electricity rates.
This will be implemented until a final decision is made on the application or unless otherwise ordered by the ERC.
As for Tablas Island, which is also experiencing daily rotational blackouts of at least 10 hours, the ERC noted that the nine mayors leading the municipalities on the island had issued a “manifesto” asking the commission to provide relief.