The Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) will seek an extension of the year-end deadline President Rodrigo Duterte issued to fix the power crisis in the province and improve services.
PALECO board chairman Jeffrey Tan-Endriga said they are now talking to Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), and other line agencies to help them extend the deadline to resolve the frequent blackouts.
Endriga said the DOE has allowed them to utilize their capital expenses (CAPEX) pending the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) because of the urgent need.
“May pondo kaso hindi kami pa naaprubahan ng ERC,” Endriga said.
He said it the reason why they failed to upgrade the power distribution lines immediately was because of the ERC taking long in approving their request for authority.
The upgrading that remains to be just a plan is one of the reasons why there are constant power outages and systems losses that are charged to member-consumers.
He also pointed out that the power outages cannot only be blamed on antiquated distribution lines but also on the unreliable transmission lines.
Endriga said that with the current situation, they are thinking of borrowing the needed funds from financial institutions that extend support to utility companies.
Another option is to open up partnerships with private companies like the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) for “lease-to-own option.”
“Kailangan na natin mag-take ng risk this time,” Endriga said.
He said they are now preparing a letter of request for an extension that will be sent to President Duterte on the first week of December to salvage the situation before the end of the year deadline.
PALECO acting general manager Napoleon Cortes Jr. earlier said that the slow process of the ERC’s approval of their proposed “CAPEX” has put on hold their plans to improve their services.
He said as a cooperative, they need to secure the approval of the ERC first to be able to apply for loans either from the NEA or from banking institutions to finance their upgrading plans.
PALECO has been planning to purchase a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to ensure the stability of distribution lines. The facility which costs around P40 million has been put on hold since it cannot source the amount internally.
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