Camiguin solon wants probe on ailing electric coop

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CAMIGUIN ISLAND  (July 10) – Congress Representative Xavier Jesus Romualdo is seeking a congressional hearing on Camiguin Electric Cooperative (Camelco), the island’s electric provider.

Romualdo said that the financial health of the cooperative is no longer viable under the leadership of General Manager Adriano Ebcas.

On October 2017, Romualdo filed House Resolution No. 1385 directing the Committee on Energy to conduct an inquiry on the financial condition and viability of CAMELCO, as well as the performance of the NEA and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on their respective mandates to supervise electric cooperatives and protect and promote the interests of consumers. The committee, however, has not yet acted on the resolution.

On 2018, the NEA acted on the resolution and conducted a hearing, twice in Cagayan de Oro and the latest, on July 5, 2018 in Mambajao, Camiguin.

The NEA Administrative Committee asked the provincial government to submit evidences against Camelco within 10 days after the hearing.

A Moto Propio case on Camelco’s over contracting of power supply was part of the hearing conducted.

Romualdo said that he will ask the Committee on Energy to conduct an investigation after they resumed session after the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Mambajao mayor Jurdin Jesus “JJ” Romualdo, the cooperative incurred a total of 460 Million pesos in debt and has not paid the interests of these loans.

A December 2012 loan for a parallel submarine cable alone cost the cooperative 220 million pesos.

XJ Romualdo said that he is seeking the investigation to precisely ask NEA and Congress to investigate the true state of the financial condition and operations of the CAMELCO because the audit report and financial statements of the electric cooperative’s own independent auditors paint an alarming picture of the CAMELCO’s financial health.

JJ Romualdo said that he wants Ebcas removed from office to save Camelco.

HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATE

The Romualdo’s also claimed that the Island province has the highest electricity rate in the country currently at 16.00/Kilowatt hour.

“The current residential rate in Camiguin is at P16.00 per kWh. This is already the most expensive in the country today. CAMELCO will now start drawing power from another of its suppliers and, when we get our July electricity bill in August, calculations show that we will be billed not less than P20.00 per kWh,” said Romualdo.

According to Romualdo, CAMELCO’s maximum peak demand is only 4 megawatts (MW) but the electric cooperative entered into power supply contracts with FDC Misamis Power Corporation for 4 MW, King Energy Generation, Inc. for 4 MW, and GNPower Kauswagan for 2.73 MW, for a total contracted capacity of 10.73 MW. CAMELCO also draws 2 MW from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.

“It is very clear that CAMELCO contracted too much power and, as we all know, consumers pay for all the power that is contracted even if we do not use it,” added Romualdo, who chairs the House Committee on Government Reorganization.

Ebcas said that they need to augment the island’s power reserve as based on their projection, the island will experience higher power demand when a 4-storey shopping mall and a world class hotel will operate, the current supply will not be enough.

Ebcas clarified that it was not him nor Camelco who raised the power rate for the new power agreement between Camelco and FDC Misamis Power Coporation, but it was the Energy Regulatory Commission who provided the power rate adjustment.

Both FDC Misamis Power Coporation and GNPower Kauswagan are used as “based load” while King Energy Generation Inc, is a diesel power plant based in Camiguin.

CAMELCO officers have long been under fire due to allegations of mismanagement and incompetence. On September 2017, over 19,710 CAMELCO member-consumers and concerned residents signed and filed a petition with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to have CAMELCO and its board of directors, general manager, and other officers investigated for overcontracting and the substantial annual losses, negative cash flows, and loans in the hundreds of millions, with some matured loans left unpaid, detailed in the reports of the cooperative’s independent auditor.-Lance Baconguis/NewsLine.ph

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