Davao Norte SP inquires status of two fighting electric coops
Presiding officer Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio Jr said during the session’s question hour that all the legislative department and Governor Rodolfo del Rosario wanted was to know the real situation of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) and find solution to the problem for the good of the member-consumers in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.
Daneco has been wracked with two factions, comparatively called now as Daneco- NEA (National Electrification Administration) and Daneco-CDA (Cooperative Development Authority) fighting it out in courts and in their separate operations and collection activities for legitimacy and dominance for more than a year now.
“We are the one that is legal for being under the regulatory and disciplinary powers of NEA,” said Gregorio Ybanez, chairman of the board of directors of Daneco-NEA.
He ruled out suggestions of several board members for a compromise and instead charged Daneco-CDA’s officials to account for the millions of collection they made and remit these to Daneco-NEA.
He told SP members that Daneco-CDA should show their audited financial statements and should be liable for the acts they are continuing to make that create confusion to the people and exact huge damage to Daneco.
Ybanez said that Daneco-CDA is not paying its power obligations and it is Daneco-NEA that has been paying power suppliers which include PSALM, NGCP and Therma Marine.
Also, Daneco-NEA OIC general manager Benedicto Ongking informed officials in session that as of June 2013 their group was able to pay P437.93 million to the power generator PSALM but there is still a balance of the total payable amounting to P271.92 million.
From October 2012 to June 2013, Daneco as a whole had a total payable to PSALM amounting to P293.39 million, which was already restructured by PSALM to P274.99 with an interest of P18.4 million payable in three years, Ongking said.
“We can still pay power suppliers but not on due date, and (for this) we are incurring interest,” he said.
Ongking said that before the crisis came up Daneco used to have 95 percent collection efficiency rating in 2012.
But when the dispute with Daneco-CDA started, he added, the collection efficiency rating was down to 51 percent and further sank down to 42 percent in the succeeding months after typhoon Pablo, he said.
He bared that on the whole Daneco is saddled with P7.93 billion on total loans and obligations to power suppliers and various credit lines being amortized in various terms, about P5.5 billion of which is from PSALM.
“The financial requirement for these obligations stood at P209.98 million per month but our average cash collection was only P154.37 million, thus a deficit of P55.6 million, from August 2012 to November 2012,” he said.
Ybanez said that runaway interests that mount Daneco’s debt can be still be met head on if Daneco-CDA dissolves itself.
On the other hand, Abenir Labja, chairman of the board of directors of Daneco-CDA, told SP members that they would continue operating and asked Daneco-NEA officials for unity and reconciliation.
Asked by Board Member Shirley Aala if Daneco-CDA has been paying power supply obligations, he said that records showed that they paid P34.10 million to NGCP, a State-controlled firm in charge in the business of power grid and transmission.
As to Daneco-CDA’s collection, Labja said they are collecting an average of P10-11 million monthly, which “represents about 5.5 percent of Daneco’s total power consumption.”
He said the bulk of the balance of the collections “are still in the hands of the power consumers” treating those collected by Daneco-NEA as still receivables.
He said Daneco-CDA’s legality came up with the May 2012 referenda where member-consumers voted for a conversion of stock cooperative under CDA.
He said that the legality is given a boost when CDA lifted the temporary suspension of their CDA’s registration last May 31, 2013.
But Daneco-NEA legal counsel Jeorge Rapista said that the lifting is not yet final and executory as Daneco-NEA submitted its motion for reconsideration to CDA last week.
He said that the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the Court of Appeals from which the CDA Commission en banc based its earlier decision to suspend Daneco-CDA’s registration “is still valid, effective and existing”.
While noting of the CDA’s “highly irregular” and confusing turnaround, the lawyer said that, “it is Daneco-NEA that has been recognized by all government agencies and power suppliers.”
The session ended up only with pleas from several board members for the two parties to mend ways and resolve, but no agreement nor consensus between the two parties was reached.
Earlier, Engr. Godofredo Guya, NEA project supervisor to Daneco-NEA, expressed apprehension that the “problem of having two factions claiming for legitimacy” might put Daneco in a further mess.
He feared that power suppliers might cut off power supplies to Daneco as a whole and bring blackouts to the two provinces if increasing payables to power supply obligations would not be arrested. He said that already the NGCP had sent a disconnection notice to Daneco last month.
Guya estimated the Daneco-CDA has eaten up about 35 percent in the power bill collections of the hitherto one Daneco entity.
He said that both NEA and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), that fixes electric rates, only recognized Daneco-NEA and not Daneco-CDA.
Labja said that Daneco-CDA now is employing more than 174 personnel, fourteen of whom are regular employees who opted to stick it out with Daneco-CDA after it separated in July 2012. The faction hired some 160 job-order (JO) personnel.
Ybanez bared, on the other hand, that Daneco-CDA has 375 personnel, of whom more than 300 are old, original and regular employees, and the rest are JO personnel. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)