MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) has formed a task force to resolve debt issues of ailing electric cooperatives (ECs), particularly of debt-ridden Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco).
DOE spokesperson Pete Ilagan said the task force is composed of the DOE, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the local government units (LGUs).
He said the task force would determine whether government would step in through NEA, the government agency mandated to provide total electrification on an area coverage basis as it pursues the rural electrification program.
“NEA’s step in powers is just there to help improve the situation to make the EC viable. It is government’s way of assisting a utility, which is performing a public service. So if the task force sees public service is undermined because of some financial problems or management problems, it will be given attention through financial aid or through strengthening the management capability,” Ilagan said.
Among ECs, Aleco is one of the ailing ECs for failing to meet financial and operational parameters, even after a year San Miguel Corp. (SMC) took over its management in 2013. SMC renamed Aleco as Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC).
Ilagan said Aleco’s financial and management aspects will be scrutinized by the task force.
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“We need to know the situation right now to determine how it got into that situation,” he said, noting the DOE had already ordered the task force to make a report.
“We also have to determine [SMC’s] management capability because they took over the former management. We also have to look at their performance if they are able to come up to the expectations of improving its conditions,” Ilagan said.
Based on NEA’s latest data, Aleco has a total P1.16 billion debt from Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc., the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp., and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.