Gatchalian wants probe on underperforming electric co-ops
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Win Gatchalian is calling for a Senate inquiry into the supposed underperformance of some distribution utilities (DUs) in the country amid persistent complaints of rolling power outage in several provinces.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, recently filed Senate Resolution No. 1022, which called for the inquiry on the operations of underperforming electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country and the remedies to hold them accountable.
The senator made the call after the Department of Energy (DOE) earlier announced the review of the financial and technical performance of the ECs.
“Various hearings of the Senate Committee on Energy has brought to light the issues surrounding DUs, such as non-compliance with the system loss caps, System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), financial liabilities, in the case of electric cooperatives; and failure to electrify areas within their respective franchises – thereby resulting in the prejudice of consumers,” Gatchalian said in his resolution.
“Given the foregoing shortcomings of DUs, there has been no policy or procedure for DOE or ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) to determine underperforming DUs, whose franchise will be recommended for revocation,” he added.
Citing data from the DOE, Gatchalian also pointed out that 72.6 percent or 449,410 out of 618,600 households in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remain without power as of December 31, 2017, making it the top “unelectrified” region in the country.
Gatchalian said that while he fully supports holding distribution utilities accountable in their services to consumers by reviewing their technical and financial performance, he stressed the need to have a clear policy and procedure on the recommendation for revocation before actually submitting the recommendation to Congress. /muf
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