by Dexter A. See, December 22, 2014
from Manila Standard
BANGUED, Abra—Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin has asked the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Electrification Administration (NIA) to takeover the operations of their local electric cooperative because of incompetence by its officers that lead to frequent blackouts in the province.
Bersamin said the Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) was almost bankrupt and it often renege on its debts to suppliers and failed to get a reliable source of power because of incompetence by management.
“We do not want our people to always be suffering the difficulties of power outages as a result of the disconnection of our power supply due to unsettled obligations of Abreco,” Bersamin said.
The cooperative serves about 140,000 consumers in the province and nearby areas. The area was plunge into darkness several times in the past few months and national officials had to intercede for the benefit of the consumers.
The cooperative gets its electricity supply from Aboitiz Renewables, a geothermal power provider. When Aboitiz goes on preventive maintenance or suffers technical problems, it gets power from the expensive spot market and the added costs are passed on to the consumers.
Bersamin said Abreco general manager, Loreto Seares, Jr had offered to resign if the cooperative failed to meet its commitments to the consumers, but he did not honor his word despite several letters of disconnection presented by Aboitiz to the cooperative.
The governor called on DOE and NIA to help Abreco find a reliable power supplier that will guarantee sustainable power supply to the people of Abra and prevent outages during the Yuletide season.
Failure of Abreco to find a reliable source of power was a reason the cooperative could not guarantee cheaper rates for consumers and it brought the cooperative to near bankruptcy, Bersamin said.
He said he has sent letters to the DOE and the NIA seeking the ouster of Abreco officials, but the Abreco board of directors could initiate action by firing incompetent officers and hiring good managers.
“They must craft long-term solutions to address power outages that take its tolls on the social and economic development of the province,” Bersamin said.