08 May 2018

NEA intervenes in Palawan electric co-op to help fix power supply woes

In a bid to help resolve the power supply woes that have continued to plague the province of Palawan, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has intervened in the management and operations of the beleaguered Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco).

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong issued an office order on December 10 designating Engr. Nelson Lalas as Project Supervisor/Acting General Manager (PS/AGM) of Paleco, effective immediately.

"In the exigency of the service and pursuant to Sections 4 (e) and (j) of Presidential Decree No. 269 as amended by Section 5 of R.A. 10531, Engr. Lalas is hereby designated as Project Supervisor/Acting General Manager of Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) effective immediately,"

NEA office order stated.

His designation, however, will cease upon the appointment of a regular General Manager, which is subject to confirmation by the NEA.

Lalas, as indicated in the NEA office order, is tasked to manage the day-to-day operations of Paleco to ensure the efficient delivery of electric service to the member-consumer-owners.

He is likewise mandated to approve or disapprove Board resolutions in consultation with concerned departments in the state-run agency.

Lalas is also authorized to sign/countersign checks, withdrawal slips, and other banking transactions, as well as perform other tasks that may be assigned for the purpose of operational efficiency.

The NEA intervention comes a month after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a stern warning to local officials to solve the energy issues in Palawan.

President Duterte gave Paleco until the end of the year to address the frequent brownouts or he would get a new electricity provider for Palawan if the problem persists.

NEA Administrator Masongsong informed the Senate of this latest development on December 13 during the deliberations on the proposed 2019 budget of the state-run agency.

Senate Committee on Energy chairman Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the NEA to take control of the operations of Paleco to ease the burden on Palawe├▒os, who continue to experience rotational brownouts lasting several hours due to the worsening power supply problem.

"The temporary solution is for NEA to take over right away, fix the governance problem, release it from capture, contract an independent power producer that will deliver the necessary supply and then later on think about whether to offer it to the private sector or not," the senator said during the budget deliberation.

Paleco is the lone power distributor of Puerto Princesa City and 18 municipalities, serving 137,277 consumers or 57 percent of the 240,700 potential connections as of June 2018.

"Despite its status as an electric cooperative registered with the Cooperative Development Authority, the NEA will not stand idly by. We will exercise the agency's inherent jurisdiction over Paleco as it has the technical capability to turn things around in Palawan and for Palawan member-consumer-owners,"

said Masongsong.

The NEA has the supervisory powers over 121 ECs nationwide as mandated under R.A. 10531, otherwise known as the "National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013." ###