The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has created another task force to improve the electricity service reliability to consumers in the Province of Abra.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong mobilized Task Force Kapatiran, specifically mandated with the rehabilitation of the dilapidated power distribution system of the Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO) to help avert outages.
The task force consists of Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISECO), Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO), La Union Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LUELCO), Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative (PANELCO I), Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative (PANELCO III), and Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENPELCO).
Task Force Kapatiran is mandated with the rehabilitation of the dilapidated power distribution system of ABRECO.
Task Force Kapatiran ABRECO will prioritize the rehabilitation of power distribution facilities in Bangued, the capital of Abra, as it accounts for 70 percent of the electric co-op’s total demand.
Last August 22, a coordination meeting among the representatives from the NEA, ABRECO, and members of Task Force Kapatiran was initially held at ISECO headquarters in Santiago, Ilocos Sur to discuss the details of the rehabilitation plan.
The creation of the task force is part of the state-run agency’s efforts to address the challenges and issues besetting the beleaguered ABRECO, which is currently under the management of the Task Force Duterte Abra Power (TFD-AP) and the NEA.
In addition, ABRECO is also moving forward with its plan to apply for debt restructuring agreements with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), and Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) / Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP).
As of June 30, 2019, ABRECO’s outstanding obligations to PSALM and PEMC/IEMOP are P579.863 million and P238.521 million, respectively.
To improve its electricity service to the province, ABRECO has already included in its rehabilitation plan and capital expenditure plan (CapEx) the uprating of its existing 5MVA Substation in Calaba, Bangued to 15MVA; relocation of its 5MVA Substation from Calaba, Bangued to Pidigan; and conversion of Bangued backbone line to double circuit.
The electric cooperative also plans to avail of commodity loan with the Rural Electrification Financing Corporation (REFC).
The electric cooperative also plans to avail of commodity loan with the Rural Electrification Financing Corporation (REFC) for the purchase of line materials, tools and equipment.
Even before Task Force Kapatiran ABRECO was formed, the NEA Management Team and Task Force Duterte Abra Power have implemented several reforms on the financial, institutional, and technical aspects of EC operations since the takeover in 2018 due to long-standing mismanagement issues.
Among the reforms instituted include full payment of its outstanding debts to Aboitiz Power Renewables, Inc. (APRI) amounting to P6,899,792; payment of quarterly amortizations to the NEA amounting to P1.3 million; updated payment of employees’ premiums/loans and withholding taxes to government agencies and the setting up of employees retirement fund.
Other initiatives undertaken were the conduct of comprehensive operations audit and special cash audit, inspection and correction of big load consumer metering facilities, capacitating of EC meter readers, organization of the Multi-Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC), and submission of a proposed EC organizational structure.
The NEA also released P18.455 million as working capital loan on February 27, 2018 for the payment of ABRECO’s power accounts with PEMC and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP); and another P10 million on April 1, 2019 as calamity loan due to Typhoon Ompong.
Through the upgrading of its billing system under the TFD-AP initiative, ABRECO was able to correct erroneous billing data which paved the way for the improvement of collection efficiency of 89 percent; and reduction of system loss from 14.95 percent to 13.87 percent. Other accomplishments include acquisition of service vehicles, tools, equipment and other electrical materials.