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PROPOSALS MADE TO RESOLVE MASBATE POWER WOES – NEA

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) is coordinating closely with the Department of Energy (DOE) in its performance assessment and audit on the Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MASELCO) to find appropriate solutions to address its current problems.

The NEA Management and Consultancy Services Office (MCSO) has been assisting MASELCO towards improving its distribution services despite limited resources at its disposal.

The NEA conducted a coordination meeting with DMCI Masbate Power Corp. (DMPC) and MASELCO representatives last April 30, barely three weeks after the DOE ordered a performance assessment and audit on the struggling electric cooperative (EC).

Discussed were the ongoing construction of coal thermal power plant, the installation of 5MVA (Mega Volt Amp) power substations for Cataingan and Uson, and the uprating of NPC 10MVA power transformer to 30MVA in Mobo.

“The MCSO has been assisting MASELCO towards improving its distribution services despite limited resources at its disposal.”

The DOE wants to evaluate the services of MASELCO in terms of its distribution system, power supply contracts, power supply planning and dispatch, operational matters as well as its utilization of the power generation and transmission facilities in the province of Masbate.

Last April 10, the DOE issued Department Order No. DO2019-04-0011, which created a task force with the NEA as member to assess the electric cooperative and “ensure the quality, reliability, security and affordability of electric power supply within its franchise area in line with the total electrification program” of the government.

Prior to that, an audit team composed of technical personnel from both the DOE and NEA has already been sent to Masbate last year to examine the overall power situation in the province through the coordination among MASELCO, NPC and DMPC.

The initial after mission report of the NEA yielded recommendations, such as the establishment of substations in strategic locations to reduce system loss, improve power quality and reliability; review of power supply agreement; and harmonization of projects, among others.

“The rural electrification agency noted that MASELCO has limited control and monitoring over its own facilities.”

The rural electrification agency noted that MASELCO has limited control and monitoring over its own facilities because the existing substations in Masbate were owned and operated by NPC (its transmission line provider) and DMPC (its lone power supplier).

The NEA also recommended that the co-op start the process early for the application of its capital expenditure plan to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), citing its importance “to address operational concerns” and “to sustain the gains of its improving operations.”

MASELCO is currently under the leadership of Romeo Acuesta, whom the NEA designated as project supervisor/acting general manager last February 20, to ensure the continuation of the reforms initiated by the agency.

To recall, the NEA, which has supervisory powers over all ECs across the country, exercised its step-in rights and took over the operations and management of MASELCO in 2017 following the latter’s failure to settle its overdue obligations to the DMPC.

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