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Business

Bicol co-ops buck measure on grant of power franchise

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Electric cooperatives in Bicol are opposed to a proposed measure at the House of Representatives granting a private company a franchise to establish and operate a distribution system in the Bicol region.

In a resolution passed last month submitted to the lower chamber, members of the Bicol Electric Cooperative Association Inc. (BECA) said HB 4935 poses “a serious and present danger” to the cooperatives.

They said the pending measure could lead to massive displacement of their workforce, wastage of assets funded by the government, depress growth in rural areas, and render the National Electrification Administration (NEA) irrelevant.

“The passage of HB 4935 would surely result in higher power rates in the Bicol region because the Bicol Light and Power Corp., being a private company, is profit-oriented and is expected to add on profit to its power rates on top of its recovery of the cost of development and maintenance of its power infrastructure and operation and management of the company.”

BECA is composed of 12 electric cooperatives in the region. Its members have been implementing the government’s countryside development through total electrification of the rural areas for more than four decades now, it said.

The group said the cooperatives measure their power rates strictly on the basis of their monthly operating cost, without any provision for net margins. They are also service-oriented and missionary in nature, serving even the thinly populated areas and geographically dispersed consumers in Bicol.

HB 4935 would pave the way for the “corporatization” of all power utilities.

“The passage of HB 4935 would deny extension of lines to heretofore unenergized areas and could even cut off electric lines to energized but far-flung barangays and sitios due to high maintenance cost vis-à-vis zero profit margins, which could result in stunted growth and development of the Bicol region,” BECA said in its resolution.

 

AREAS

BICOL

BICOL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION INC

BICOL LIGHT AND POWER CORP

COOPERATIVES

ELECTRIC

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION

POWER

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