30 May 2018
After a few months of instituting the needed reforms, the Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) under the new management is now paying its monthly power supply bills on time, ensuring a continued electricity service in its coverage area in the province of Abra.
Abreco Acting General Manager Charito Mabitazan said the utility's power bills to the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) amounting to P25 million and P7.9 million, respectively, have already been paid. The bills covered the month of April.
"This development is proof of the NEA's capacity to extend expertise and lend a hand to electric cooperatives needing financial, institutional and technical assistance," NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said.
Abreco is now slowly getting back on its feet after being hit by mismanagement issues. Last February, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong formally activated the Task Force Duterte Abra Power to fix the ailing power distribution utility and impose the needed reforms in the financial, institutional, and technical areas of the EC operations.
Task Force chairman, NEA Deputy Administrator Atty. Goldelio Rivera said these reforms include organizational downsizing, implementation of an effective collection strategy, creation of the Multi-Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC), formulation of a 100-Day Strategic Development Plan, and submission of a proposed organizational structure of the co-op.
During their Board meeting last April 23, Rivera said they discussed the improvement of the billing and collection system, as well as the procurement of power supply under a bilateral contract with a power supplier or under an aggregation with other electric cooperatives.
To recall, the NEA was constrained to intervene and take over on February 9 the operations and management of Abreco due to significant adverse audit findings, and notices of default and suspension issued by PEMC which stemmed from the co-op's non-payment of power bills amounting to over P200 million.
Among the adverse audit findings were overcharging of generation rates amounting to P128 million from July 2015 to October 2016; non-submission of pertinent documents on the utilization of subsidy funds; and non-observance of procurement procedures.
Also included in the findings were questionable transactions such as the reconditioning, testing and commissioning of 5MVA Substation; purchases from favored suppliers; irregular disbursements for EC vehicles; irregular payments of benefits, per diems and allowances; and borrowing money from various sources at usurious interest rates at 6 percent or thereabout. NEA