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#SavingBoracay: Akelco says waste-to-energy facility might be the key

MALAY, Aklan—There might be another way around cleaning up Boracay without the mandatory closure of businesses that drive its economy. How? By putting up waste-to-energy facilities in the island.

An official from the Aklan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Akelco) brought this up amid reports that a number of establishments in the area will be forced to temporarily shutdown after repeated violations of state environmental laws and regulations on proper waste disposal.

Akelco general manager Alexis Regalado said a company has expressed interest to build a biomass-fired power plant in one of the three barangays comprising the island and they are giving it some serious thought.

“We have already been approached about plans to establish a biomass [plant to convert] wastes [into at least] one megawatt [of power]. They said they already acquired a lot in Manoc-Manoc, where they want to put it up, but [its development remains to be seen],” he said.

Regalado sees this as a possible long-term solution to mitigate the recurring waste management issues of Boracay. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself claimed recently that the island has turned into a “cesspool” because of its worsening sewage problem.

The Akelco chief shared concerns that if this situation is left unaddressed, it will definitely affect many industries including their company, which earns a great deal of revenues from the hotels, restaurants and other businesses that operate in the area.

Regalado considers Boracay as the “bread and butter” of Akelco because although it covers only 8,000 out of the total 151,000 consumer connections in their franchise area, it generates 55 percent of their overall average monthly income.

“Definitely, Akelco will be affected if a lot of businesses will be closed, especially if they are big establishments,” he said. Investing in a biomass facility may not only prevent this scenario but it can also help address the growing demand of the island for electricity.

During peak seasons, the top tourist destination in Aklan averages a total of 28 megawatts (MW) in daily power consumption and around 20 MW on quiet months. Accordingly, Akelco has also been pouring its resources to improve power supply and reliability in Boracay.

Biomass facilities are among the many renewable energy development projects the National Electrification Administration (NEA) advocates under the leadership of Administrator Edgardo Masongsong.

Masongsong was in Boracay over the weekend to attend the First Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors Summit, which was hosted by Akelco, at the La Carmela de Boracay convention center. NEA


NEA takes over ailing electric coop in Abra; rehabilitation underway

In an effort to rehabilitate the ailing Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco), the National Electrification Administration (NEA) on Friday (February 9) officially took over the management and operations of the power distribution utility and deactivated its current Board of Directors.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong accompanied the members of the newly created Task Force Duterte Abra Power in a meeting with the employees and officials of Abreco to help ensure a smooth takeover.

This developed days after the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) issued the Notice of Default and Notice of Suspension against Abreco due to its failure to pay over P200 million in power supply bills.

"With the recent development relative to the Notice of Default and Notice of Suspension issued by the PEMC, NEA is under obligation to take over the management and operations of Abreco to protect the welfare and interest of the electric cooperative and its member-consumer-owners (MCOs)," Masongsong said.

Earlier, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi directed the NEA to address the financial and management problems of Abreco decisively, citing increasing complaints of poor and unreliable service from its MCOs. Abra Rep. Joseph Santo Niño Bernos also issued a statement urging the Department of Energy to intervene and stop the order of PEMC to suspend Abreco from the wholesale electricity spot market.

To recall, Masongsong issued Office Order No. 2017-168 in September last year creating the Task Force to take charge of the rehabilitation of Abreco. The order was pursuant to Section 5 (a) Chapter II and Sections 4-A and B of Presidential Decree No. 269, as amended by Republic Act No. 10531.

Chaired by NEA Deputy Administrator for Electric Cooperative Management Services Atty. Goldelio Rivera, the Task Force will serve as an Electric Cooperative Board of Directors prescribed under NEA Bulletin No. 35.

To supervise the management and operations of Abreco, NEA has designated Atty. Xerxes Adzuara as Project Supervisor. Charito Mabitazan, meanwhile, has been assigned as Acting General Manager to manage the day-to-day operations and ensure the efficient delivery of service to MCOs.

Other members of the Task Force are Reynaldo Lazo and Engr. Felino Herbert Agdigos, Board president and general manager (GM) of Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Inec), respectively; Atty. Gloria Corrales and Engr. Egdon Sabio, Board president and GM of Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Iseco), respectively; and Rocky Aliping and Gerardo Versoza, Board president and GM of Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Beneco), respectively.

National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO) national chairman Retired General Akmad Mamalinta joined the team in the takeover to coordinate the maintenance of peace and order and provide security.

With the objective of re-engineering Abreco into an excellently performing distribution utility, the Task Force is expected to meet specific deliverables, which include conduct of election for Board of Directors; selection and appointment of a regular GM; establishment of a lean and mean organizational structure with competent workforce; come up with well-informed and participative member-consumers and stakeholders; plan and implement capital expenditures projects towards power reliability, system efficiency, and reduction of system losses; prevent power curtailment due to power shortages and outages; and achieve management and operational performance within the NEA parameters and standards.

The Task Force was formed after the NEA Board of Administrators, in its Resolution No. 113 dated September 5, 2017, ordered the deactivation of the Abreco's Board of Directors due to its failure to lead the cooperative to meet the operational and financial standards and parameters prescribed by the NEA and considering the material and significant adverse audit findings on its operations as contained in the Comprehensive Audit Report. #NEA



Rep. Uybarreta Asks DOJ Usec. Antonio Kho. Jr to Revisit DOJ’s Interpretation of Section 13 of R.A. No. 10531

NEA gathers over 250 institutional managers, information officers in 1st EC Communicators' Summit


22January 2018

Recognizing the indispensable role communication plays in advancing the rural electrification program, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) recently hosted its first-ever Electric Cooperative (EC) Communicators' Summit.

Held at the NEA headquarters in Quezon City, the summit brought together a total of 255 information officers (IOs) and Institutional Services Department (ISD) managers from 117 ECs nationwide.

The activity, which ran from January 18 to 19, carried the theme "Member-Consumer-Owner (MCO) Empowerment through Strong, Reliable and Effective Communication System."

It aimed to set a consumer empowerment direction for the ECs through the introduction of a new NEA communications policy, which underscores the aggressive promotion of rural electrification program, and maximizes the utilization of traditional and new media to achieve sectoral objectives and respective corporate goals.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, in his message during the first day of the summit, stressed the importance of maximizing the utilization of the media, including social media, to advance the rural electrification program of the national government.

"If we are able to do that, the minds of the Filipino people will be convinced that the only way for us to advance is for the rural folks and communities to maximize electrification to pursue medium and large scale economic undertakings, not just small initiatives, and not wait for the investors to come but for them to mobilize their own resources," the NEA chief said.

At the same time, Masongsong underscored the need for continued partnership with the ECs and MCOs to achieve sustainable development in the countryside. He also called for a strengthened movement building of the ECs in order to protect the gains of the rural electrification.

The gathering also provided an opportunity for ISD managers and information officers to discuss the challenges they face in communicating with the public and the possible solutions to address them.

Another highlight of the summit was the election of the officers of the newly established League of Electric Cooperatives Information and Communications Officers Nationwide (Lexicon).

Newly elected national officers of Lexicon were the following: Roel Venus of Ceneco (president), Jonathan Leysa of Sukelco (vice president), Morena Bautista of Ormeco (secretary), Rizalinda Reyes of Cenpelco (treasurer), and Clarence Ducusin of Iseco (auditor).

The organization is expected to play an integral role in disseminating all industry related news and information for the welfare and empowerment of the ECs and MCOs.

Summit declaration

At the end of the summit, ISD managers and information officers issued a declaration, in which they recognized the crucial role they play in empowering the MCOs through strong, reliable and effective communication system.

They also expressed their determination "to take bolder and sustained collective actions to inject new dynamism into the Rural Electrification Movement to promote sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth of and among members of the various sectors of the power industry."

They likewise agreed to "strengthen inter-corporate integration, enhance the full potential of the partnerships forged between ECs, MCOs, and the NEA."

Moreover, they pledged to "adhere to the principles of transparency, accountability, information dissemination and education as indispensable anchors for the attainment of the objectives of people empowerment."

Cognizant of the significant contribution of the rural electrification movement in the pursuit of rural development, they also committed themselves to the authority and direction of the NEA "in setting the direction of the programs and initiatives of the country's electric cooperatives in consumer communications and empowerment."

In the declaration, they also urged the NEA to, among others, "issue a comprehensive communications policy to commit ourselves into and to serve as the roadmap of electric cooperatives in crafting our respective communications program in pursuit of the goals of MCO empowerment."

The two-day event was organized in coordination with the Philippine Association of Institutional Managers (Philaim), NEA Institutional Development Department, Corporate Communication and Social Marketing Office (CCSMO), and the NEA-EC Training Institute (NETI). ###



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