Power consumers in Albay demonstrating last year against Aleco’s plan to go private as one measure to stop the recurrence of power blackouts in the province. However, consumers said it was just a ploy for the co-op to further increase power rates. – Website photo
By MAR S. ARGUELLES
LEGAZPI CITY: The Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) Anti Pilferage campaign proves to be a success as it brought down systems loss from as high as 26% to as low as 22% in October, an official of the Aleco’s Interim Board said Tuesday.
The reduction in the coop’s systems loss was attributed to the heightened drive against power pilferage that resulted to the apprehension of thousands of power consumers who were found to be either using power “jumpers,” economizers, or defective meters, according to Augusto Villalon, Aleco board spokesman.
Villalon said the campaign which kicked off October this year also snared at least five big load consumers whose electric meters were found to be defective.
He said successful apprehension of several big load consumers yielded some P31 million in billing differentials, which amount could be used to pay the coop’s outstanding power bills with power distributors and providers.
Earlier, Aleco has adopted the “Co-op to Co-op” partnership program as a turnaround strategy to bail the power coop out of its financial distress.
Villalon said the systems loss reduction strategy aims to reduce its newly-improved systems loss of 24% to 13% next year. It also hopes to attain an ideal 9% systems loss by 2018 and beyond.
Aleco’s current systems loss before the campaign was pegged at 26%, which was way above the 13% cap allowed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Aleco subsidizes the systems loss above cap in the amount of P14.16 million a month or P300 million a year.
Under the “Co-op to Co-op” partnership, other power coops such as the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco), the Peninsula Electric Cooperative of Bataan, and Bicol Electric Cooperative Association (BECA) have come to help in running the operation of Aleco.
Villalon said Beneco had initially loaned 12,000 units of electric meters to be installed in households with defective meters.
The BECA, on the other hand, had deployed additional technical personnel to assist in the installation of these electric meters in the 15 towns and three cities of Albay province that comprise Aleco’s service coverage.
Aleco’s high systems loss was attributed to the antiquated, defective power transformers, and power meters in various sub-stations and power lines, while several substations were also found to be not compliant with the Grid Code.
The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for its part has offered to grant a P1B loan with low interest to Aleco to service its outstanding debt with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC).
Aleco is operating at a loss. Its financial books of September this year indicate that it owes several power suppliers close to P3.4 billion in outstanding liabilities.
The power cooperative’s current power bills has been placed at P269.1 million even as it owes its material suppliers, contractors and employees for their retirement benefits by as much as P12.2 million. – Bicol Mail