As a state-run agency that would rather unite its industry partners than see them divided, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) expressed its commitment to help all electric cooperatives (ECs), even those registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
Administrator Edgardo Masongsong underscored this message before hundreds of EC general managers and board of directors present at the opening of the NEA Electricity Forum Phase II.
Masongsong, since his assumption into office in November of last year, has been visiting various electric cooperatives to personally check their status and to present the state-owned agency’s new policy direction to carry out the total electrification of the country.
“Republic Act 10531 is color-blind. It does not distinguish between an electric coop’s registration. When it comes to administrative supervision of, and the legal, technical and financial assistance to, distribution utilities, NEA embraces all,” Masongsong said.
“NEA should provide the leadership; NEA should provide the direction and the direction is to make the electric cooperatives excellently performing. Kapag sinabi nating excellently performing, ‘yung consumer ay hindi lang satisified, hindi lang delighted but pleasantly surprised of what’s happening in the electric cooperative,” he added.
The NEA, a government-owned corporation, has the supervisory powers over electric cooperatives across the nation, including those registered with the CDA, as mandated under Republic Act 10531, otherwise known as the “National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013.”
Helping Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), a CDA-registered power distribution utility, to resolve the prolonged power outages plaguing Puerto Princesa and the rest of the province since the start of 2017, proves the NEA’s will to remain steadfast in fulfilling its mandate.
The agency earlier sent a technical team to Palawan to investigate the power situation in the province and to find immediate and sustainable solutions to address the problem after a slew of complaints from its residents reached the Senate Committee on Energy chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
On September 28, Masongsong returned to the town of Bani to grace the 45th founding anniversary of Pangasinan 1 Electric Cooperative (PANELCO I), another CDA-registered power distribution cooperative, and to swear-in almost a hundred members of the Multi-Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council from nine towns and one city under the franchise area of PANELCO I.
PALECO General Manager Ric Zambales and PANELCO I General Manager Dionisio Opolento Jr. both said they appreciate the efforts that Masongsong and the NEA are making to reach out to the 121 utilities.
“Wala nang distinction. Ayaw ni Administrator (Masongsong) na itsapwera ‘yung CDA electric coops although may mga kanya-kanyang affiliations… So maganda ‘yung nangyayari sa ngayon kasi nga lahat welcome sa NEA,” Zambales said.
For his part, PANELCO I General Manager Opolento said: “Although CDA-registered kami, bumibisita rin (siya). Para sa akin iba ang pamamalakad niya, talagang pumupunta siya sa baba.”
PANELCO I transferred its registration from the NEA to the CDA in 2006 to avail of the tax exemption incentive. “Lahat ng requirements din ng NEA sinusunod namin, even the hiring of the general manager,” Opolento said.
Under RA 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, cooperatives registered with CDA can enjoy tax exemption privileges.