NEA not recognizing consumers’ payments to Daneco-CDA faction

may 27, 2013

Power blackout feared in Davao Norte, Comval as Daneco’s debt balloons to P300 M
By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

MONTEVISTA, Compostela Valley- The National Electric Administration bared Monday in a press conference that it is not recognizing the payments made by member-consumers to the faction separating from the main Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco).

Engr. Godofredo Guya, NEA Project Supervisor told mediamen that the Daneco-CDA faction that is based in Tagum City has been undercharging power consumers by not including taxes, surcharges, penalties and others that were supposed to be charged in electric bills.

He said this is contrary to rules and regulations of the Energy Regulatory Commission saying that “what has been approved by the ERC should not be increased or decreased”.

He added that the main Daneco-NEA has already submitted this undercharging issue for resolution by ERC possibly next week.

He said that since the problem of seeing two Daneco agencies claiming to be legitimate started it turned out that it is only Daneco-NEA that has been paying obligations to power suppliers such as the PSALM, NCGP and Therma Marine.

He bared that because of this situation Daneco’s outstanding power bill obligations to the three have ballooned now to more than P300 million.

“We don’t want this situation to prolong as Daneco might suffer the same fate with the electric cooperatives in Abra and Albay where the provinces they cater have experienced total blackout,” he added.

“We will make disconnection to protect those paying religiously to Daneco-NEA,” he said referring to power consumers who opted to pay to the Daneco-CDA.

However, there have been many reported re-connection efforts made by Daneco-NEA to those delinquent members just disconnected of power by Daneco-CDA.

The NEA project supervisor said that Daneco-NEA will commence active disconnection activities by July after its “massive collection and massive information dissemination activities”.

He said that Daneco-NEA “is the only agency that is recognized by the ERC to collect fees.”

Moreover, Guya informed that NEA “is now too powerful” under Republic Act No. RA 10531 or the NEA Charter, which was signed into law by President Aquino just last May 7, 2013. Its implementing rules and regulations are now being drafted by NEA.

Under the law all electric cooperatives in the country, whether registered with the CDA, Securities and Exchange Commission or under NEA, would be under the supervision of NEA.

Guya said that under the new law Daneco-CDA would be forced to come to terms under NEA’s regulatory powers besides that Regional Trial Courts are already prohibited to hear any case relating electric cooperatives but only by the Court of Appeals.

He said that in looking into the collections made by Daneco-CDA officials they have to present audited financial statement and show how they spent what they collected.

“If you cannot correct this, in the future, we will be in total darkness,” he said as he appealed to public officials, member-consumers and other stakeholders to help Daneco resolve the complicated problem it is in now.

Daneco has some 125,000 member-consumers and services the whole province of Compostela Valley and most of the towns and cities of Davao del Norte except Panabo City and the towns of Carmen, Sto. Tomas and Braulio E. Dujali

On April 30, 2012 the NEA’s five -man Board of Administrators chaired by then Dept. of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras dismissed 9 members of the board of directors and former OIC GM Felix Hibionada after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty stemming from an administrative case filed by a group of member-consumers. Those dismissed were initiating to convert Daneco into stock cooperative under the CDA.

Starting July 2012, two factions of Daneco leadership have been warring against each other resulting to the emergence of Daneco-CDA and Daneco-NEA groups and two sets of managements, board of directors and collection activities.

The NEA-sacked officials trooping under Daneco-CDA stuck on and engaged in series of court and quasi-judicial battles while physically holding for more than six months the Daneco Tipaz office in Tagum City until the office was forcibly closed by a sheriff backed up by provincial police following a break-open-closure order from the Court of Appeals.

However, the Daneco-CDA faction subsequently set up their new office at the Philippine Cooperative Union (PCU) office in Barangay Magdum, Tagum City and continued their collection activities.

The faction set up collection center in Gaisano Mall of Tagum directly competing with the Daneco-NEA collection in the same mall. Also, it set up a collection units in several barangay halls in Tagum City.

The Daneco-CDA’s new officials elected in October. 21, 2013 general assembly, no longer those sacked ones, claimed that they still operate legally as the CDA registration was only temporarily suspended by the CDA and pending Supreme Court’s resolution of the appealed case relating to the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued earlier by the Court of Appeals (CA).

Late last year RTC Tagum Judge Tehano Ang ruled an either pay to Daneco-CDA or to Daneco-NEA, which was subsequently assailed by the latter at the CA resulting to at least four special civil cases relating the legality of the CDA registration.

Last May 10, 2013, the 23rd Division of CA ruled to consolidate the special cases on certiorari and prohibitions pending before its sala to avoid further confusion and commanded the public respondent RTC Judge Ang to desist from conducting further proceedings in the civil actions.

The 23rd Division of CA has still to rule on this consolidated case at press time. – (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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