BANGUED, Abra – The beleaguered Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO) will not get any financial assistance from the energy department in order to sustain the provision of quality and reliable power to its over 140,000 consumers in the future, Energy Secretary Carlis Jericho Petilla said here.
Secretary Petilla made the disclosure after the Aboitiz Power Renewables, Inc., the power supplier of ABRECO, decided to terminate its power supply agreement with the rural electric cooperative following a series of incidents where the latter was not able to timely settle its outstanding obligations and arrears for the consumed power.
The APRI terminated its amended PSA with the ABRECO on December 15 for failing to settle its arrears and comply with several of its conditions such as posting of Security Deposit and enrolment in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) where the rural electric cooperative could temporarily buy its power, especially during the off-peak hours in order to have a mix of its power sources and to have diversified power sources.
“The government will help the cooperative in other aspects of the industry, but the driving force here is still the coop which should iron out its finances in order to be able to settle its current power bill and prevent it from incurring arrears that would result to unscheduled power outages,” Petilla said.
He clarified, however, that the assistance will not be in the form of subsidy as it will be unfair to other cooperatives, which are doing their best to keep their coops financially stable.
Petilla said they will try to advise Abreco about its connection and try to prevent disconnection of power supply because it will be detrimental to the economy and people of Abra, especially now that the province has been gaining ground in terms of attracting possible investors and tourists wanting to explore the natural beauty of the province.
“But their problem is, every time you consume (electricity), you (Abreco) have to pay,” he highlighted including its member consumers.
As much as possible Petilla said there will be government involvement on the matter to prompt Abreco to work on their delinquencies as a coop in order to stabilize its finances and for it to be able to timely settle its outstanding obligations and future bills from power suppliers.
“Kung bakit siya umabot ng ganyan, it is actually the performance of the coop itself, which by the way is owned by the people,” Petilla said.
Since the member consumers are those who elected the Board of Directors of the coop who were also the ones who appointed the general manager, he called the people of Abra to do something about it as well by urging the coop’s officials to settle the problem.
Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin said the energy department must sustain its technical assistance to the cooperative until such time that it will be able to stand alone while the people of Abra will do their best to allow competent individuals to manage it in order to prevent future power outages.
“At least, we will still be able to enjoy the technical expertise of the energy department for us to be able to hurdle the hard times of ABRECO and make it a financially stable one for the benefit of greater economic growth for the province in the future,” Bersamin stressed.
By Dexter A. See