Friday, October 19, 2012

Electric Coops Score ‘Delinquent’ Tag

MANILA, Philippines --- While 21 electric cooperatives (ECs) have overdue accounts with their power suppliers, the National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives Inc. (NAGMEC) yesterday qualified that majority of them are on the "well-performing category." In a statement, NAGMEC president Sergio C. Dagooc lamented that electric cooperatives are being pictured as "delinquents" or about to cause blackouts because of their unpaid obligations. "If not shown in its true will reflect badly on the national program of rural electrification," he said. The country has 119 electric cooperatives serving more than eight million customers nationwide. But while the majority of electric cooperatives did not like the "delinquent label," it has remained a fact that for those which have been negligent in settling their financial dues with power suppliers, they will still place their customers on a "blackout situation." NAGMEC clarified that the reported P20 billion dues of electric cooperatives as provided by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) represent at least five accounts, namely: current, restructured, overdue, disputed and value added tax. Of the total, Dagooc noted that P14.02 billion would pertain to the overdue accounts of 21 electric cooperatives, covering power accounts, VAT and other charges and costs related to restructuring. "The current account amounting to P4.1 billion involving 44 ECs should not have been included since being "current" means that these are still due for settlement," he explained. The balance of P1.2 billion, Dagooc added, "involves four ECs which should not have been considered since such accounts are being contested." He said that "only 21 ECs could be deemed laggards in terms of financial comeuppance," adding that the amounts attributed to the others as overdue has "still to be contested." Among the electric cooperatives, he claimed, that are extremely "in the red" are Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative and Albay Electric Cooperative with P5.5 billion and P1.9 billion overdue accounts, respectively. While most electric cooperatives have been trying to establish a "better picture" of their service to customers, the power suppliers are also complaining of how the outstanding obligations of some of these rural power utilities have been making dent on their collection efficiencies, and on their financial performance.