The National Electrification Administration (NEA) encouraged members of the Northeast Luzon Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (NELECA) to remain actively engaged in massive efforts aimed at unifying their communities in aid of rural electrification developments.

Administrator Edgardo Masongsong made the statement citing the demand for all electric cooperatives (ECs) to prove that they are operationally efficient, if only to silence their critics and detractors in the electric power industry.

“We need to make the ECs excellently performing because there are several threats facing our [sector],” Masongsong told NELECA officials during a meeting hosted by the Batanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BATANELCO) in Basco, Batanes last week.

“On the other hand, our national movement has been working hard to show our political leaders and the private sector that we are excellently performing so we need to strengthen our movement,” he added.

The NEA chief called specifically for the fast-tracking of various EC-led initiatives including the creation of a national headquarters, a savings bank, and a foundation that would cater to the needs of all community-owned distribution utilities in times of distress.

Fast-track the creation of a national headquarters, a savings bank, and a foundation that would cater to the needs of all community-owned distribution utilities in times of distress.

“While we are not praying for calamities to happen, even as it almost seems to be the new normal now, I think having a One EC Network Task Force Kapatiran Foundation to readily assist disaster-stricken power co-ops [will serve our communities well],” Masongsong said.

The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA), Philippine Federation of Electric Cooperatives (PHILFECO) and other allied EC organizations nationwide are expected to support this endeavor.

The administrator likewise proposed that NELECA officials speed up the organization of their member-consumer-owners under the Member-Consumers Empowerment Program (MCEP) to help them achieve these goals. “We have a lot of things to do so we need to move fast,” he said.

Masongsong told them he is even willing to spend his time with the board of directors, general managers, department managers and staff of NELECA-linked ECs to teach them everything they need to know about MCEP so it can finally take-off in their respective co-ops.

NELECA is composed of BATANELCO and eight other community-owned distribution utilities namely CAGELCO I & II in Cagayan province, IFELCO in Ifugao, ISELCO I & II in Isabela, KAELCO in Kalinga, NUVELCO in Nueva Vizcaya and QUIRELCO in Quirino.

Their nearly two-hour meeting resulted in key agreements such as the P50,000 monthly contribution of each EC to fund their advocacies. NELECA president Presley De Jesus of ISELCO I said this is necessary for them to be on equal legal footing with their big corporate rivals.

At the same time, De Jesus reiterated the need for NELECA to hasten the creation of a Regional Procurement Project Committee, which would ease the process of purchasing power supply equipment especially for ECs that are located in topographically challenging areas like BATANELCO.

“Calamity season is coming up hence we need to have a regionalized procurement (system) so we can stock up (on power supply materials) and disperse it at the same in case these calamities strike,” said De Jesus, who is also the incumbent president of PHILRECA.

Other topics discussed during the recently concluded NELECA meeting are the individual concerns of each member ECs, progress reports on their Sitio Electrification Program-funded projects, as well as updates on their system loss reduction and collection efficiency measures.

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