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DY URGES NEA, DOE INTERVENTION IN ISABELA EC WOES

Isabela 6th District Rep. Faustino “Inno” Dy V urged the National Electrification Administration and the Department of Energy to intervene amid a power crisis in Isabela, as he blasted two electric cooperatives (ECs) for their failure to provide cheap and reliable electricity in the province.

“We need someone to step in and rescue the province from the darkness of inefficiency and mismanagement. We urge the NEA and the DOE to intervene on behalf of member-consumer-owners in Isabela who must pay for the missteps of their ECs, and who are made to suffer from unsatisfactory service because our ECs are not protecting the interests of their owners—ECs that are more focused on keeping certain personalities in key positions, rather than empowering the citizens of Isabela,” Dy said in a privilege speech he delivered in session on Tuesday.

ECs should be able to provide a steady supply of electricity at reasonable and affordable rates, must be transparent and accountable to the MCOs it serves, and their actions should be consistent with the law, the solon said.

“Mr. Speaker, hindi po nauubos ang dumadating na complaints sa social media at sa aming mga opisina mula sa aming mga kababayan sa Isabela ukol sa estado ng kuryente sa aming lalawigan. We cannot simply shrug off these complaints dahil ang aming mga kababayan ang nahihirapan sa sitwasyon na ito,” added the lawmaker.

Dy laid out characteristics that he said ECs should exhibit to properly serve their member-consumer-owners or MCOs.

ECs should be able to provide a steady supply of electricity at reasonable and affordable rates, must be transparent and accountable to the MCOs it serves, and their actions should be consistent with the law, the solon said.

He then lamented that Isabela Electric Cooperative (ISELCO) I and ISELCO II, the province’s ECs, “are found gravely wanting––to the detriment of our fellow Isabelinos and our leaders’ efforts to improve the economy of the province.”

Dy bemoaned that Isabela has power rates that are more expensive than in other parts of the country.

“Households in Isabela are charged more for electricity than their counterparts in other parts of the country, a harsh reality that is compounded by the fact that like all other provinces in the country, the average household income in Isabela is lower than in other regions,” he said.

Dy said that the power rate in Isabela is at P15.55-16/kWh. In comparison, he said that Metro Manila’s average rate is at P9.545/kWh, Central Negros at P12.17/kWh, and Davao Oriental at P12/kWh.

The solon also blasted ISELCO I and II for their lack of transparency and accountability with regard to their operations by refusing access to their financial records.

Dy said that besides himself, Isabela’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan last year passed a resolution urging the NEA to conduct an immediate financial and legal audit of the transactions of both ECs, from 2016 to the present.  

“The resolution was prompted by the results of their inquiry, which has unearthed details that indicate that “unsound management” on the part of ISELCO I and ISELCO II may have led to “higher electricity rates and power outages” in the province––something that could have been avoided if the management of both ECs “were discharging their sworn duty to promote and further advance the welfare of member-consumers,” he said.

The lawmaker also said that ISELCO I had violated laws regarding its general manager’s mandatory retirement. 

“Households in Isabela are charged more for electricity than their counterparts in other parts of the country.”

According to Dy, ISELCO I had retained their GM despite the latter already receiving retirement benefits and retiring from his position, and despite the availability of individuals qualified to take over the position.

He added that the current board of directors does not meet the continuing qualification requirement in Sec. 15 and 16 of RA10351 which states that “An EC director or officer, in order to remain as such, must continue to possess all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of individuals appointed or elected as EC director or officer and disqualify those found unfit.”

Dy emphasized the need to address issues in the energy sector in post-pandemic recovery efforts and to spur development in the country.

“Let us start with the problems in Isabela, and let us work together to return power to our people,” he said.

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