The rehabilitation of cash-strapped Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO) is now in full swing as the National Electrification Administration (NEA) recently approved its P18.456 million loan to settle some of its power accounts.

The money serves as one-month working capital for the Bangued-based power distribution utility to help ensure the continuous delivery of electricity service to thousands of its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) in Abra.

It was used to defray ABRECO’s unpaid bills with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for the month of January 2018 amounting to P11.561 million and P6.893 million, respectively.

Barely a month after it took over the management and operations of ABRECO, the Task Force Duterte Abra Power created by the NEA already reported some progress towards fixing the power distribution utility and saving it from further collapse.

The Task Force prevented NGCP’s scheduled disconnection of power services on February 22 after settling Abreco’s power bill for December 2017 worth P6.767 million and interest of P12,222 from the collection of receivables.

On February 27, the Task Force submitted its 100-day Strategic Development Plan (SDP) covering the period February to May 2018, which is currently under review and evaluation by NEA Management and Consultancy Services Office (MCSO).

Likewise, ABRECO Acting General Manager Charito Mabitazan in his report submitted to the NEA on March 1 highlighted some of their accomplishments since the NEA intervention on February 9.

Mabitazan cited the total collection of P24 million covering the period February 9 to 28 with total disbursement of P11.576 million; and ABRECO’s total cash on hand and in bank worth P9.445-million as of February 28 among their accomplishments.

“We will not stop at merely rehabilitating ailing electric cooperatives like Abreco and helping it get back on its feet. The Task Force is mandated to restore Abreco back to economic viability so that the gains of development through rural electrification are felt and realized up to the very last household in the province of Abra,” NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said.

We will not stop at merely rehabilitating ailing electric cooperatives like ABEECO and helping it get back on its feet. The Task Force is mandated to restore ABRECO back to economic viability so that the gains of development through rural electrification are felt and realized up to the very last household in the province of Abra.

Meanwhile, PEMC has deferred the disconnection of power supply to Abreco in response to the Task Force’s resolution requesting for the lifting of its suspension and disconnection notices.

PEMC, in its letter dated February 20, stressed that the “deferment of the issuance of the disconnection is only a temporary measure, until an agreement will be reached on the payment of the outstanding obligations of Abreco. The lifting of the suspension notice is also hinged on the settlement of this matter.”

On January 30, PEMC issued a Notice of Default and Notice of Suspension against Abreco following its failure to settle its outstanding financial obligations that already reached more than P200 milion.

“We will endeavor to generate and raise the necessary funds to cover at least the current power payables with PEMC and to seek for a restructuring of the outstanding power accounts,” said NEA Deputy Administrator Atty. Goldelio Rivera, the Task Force chairman.

“It should be noted that as early as 2013, Abreco had been receiving notices of disconnection from NGCP. From time to time, the DOE and NEA had to intervene to avert a power disconnection. This vicious cycle must be stopped. The latest order of PEMC was the last straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak,” Rivera stressed.

Members of the Task Force are board presidents and general managers from Triple-A electric cooperatives in Northern Luzon namely Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (INEC), Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISECO), and Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO).

Recently, NEA included David Solomon Siquian, general manager of Isabela II Electric Cooperative (ISELCO II), and Atty. Julius Cesar Peralta, Board president of Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative (PANELCO III), as new members of the Task Force.

Their designation as additional members of the Task Force was “in order to have a wider or broader representation and participation in the setting of policy directions for Abreco towards attaining operational efficiency and financial viability,” the NEA Office Order 2018-037 stated.

Iselco II and Panelco III are both registered as stock electric cooperatives under the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) like Abreco.

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