Transmission system, power suppliers blamed for power woes


Palawan Electric Cooperative’s (PALECO) main problems are its transmission lines and the generation of electricity by its independent power producers (IPPs), based on finding by the Task Force PALECO (TFP), a body created by the Department of Energy (DOE) to help address the power firm’s concerns.

PALECO project supervisor and acting general manager Nelson Lalas said Tuesday in a social media video post that among a set of recommendations to mitigate these problems, the task force has advised the “modification” of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) with the IPPs.

Lalas said the DOE task force headed by retired Philippine Navy (PN) vice admiral Alex Lopez had already concluded its probe of PALECO which started sometime in February.

“It is very clear that USec. (Alex) Lopez, sinabi niya na ‘we understand PALECO’ because based on their findings, nakita naman talaga nila na ‘yong mga given na problema ay more on itong transmission and this generation of our power providers. That is why meron silang recommendation doon lalo na sa PSA that there must be some modification possibly,” Lalas said.

However, Lalas did not go into details as to what this modification on the PSAs will be and how it will be done.

Lalas did not also share what are the other findings and recommendations of the DOE task force which they need to implement to mitigate if not end Palawan’s power woes.

He said the findings of the TFP was given to him personally by Lopez in a meeting on July 5 in Manila.

“Inamin din naman [sa atin] na as far as the operation/distribution side of PALECO ay nasa ‘tolerance level’ naman tayo,” Lalas added in the video.

He said the task force has given them 10 days to come up with an action plan or proposed strategies that would cover not only the technical aspect of PALECO but also its institutional and financial operations.

“Within 10 days gagawa tayo ng action plan na dapat maaksyonan natin ‘yong findings. This [should cover] not only the technical but even on some aspects institutional at saka financial,” he said.

Lalas said the meeting with Lopez was also attended by representatives of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the National Power Corporation (NPC).

Early this year, the DOE ordered the conduct of an audit of PALECO and 16 other alleged underperforming electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country.

The order came after DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi retracted a proposal in the Lower House to cancel the franchises of the alleged underperforming ECs.

Lalas said that based on the NEA evaluation, PALECO attained the Triple-A category in January 2019 but it downgraded into Double-A again from February to May.

He also did not explain the reason for the decline in the NEA rating.

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