Monday, 12 November 2012

NEWS FEATURE: Canoreco in hot water


OUTRAGE over persistently annoying and frustrating daily brownouts has been the order of the day in Jose Panganiban, CamNorte.

A series of power cut-offs have become a daily staple which, according to consumers, was a sign that the power cooperative was again preparing to collect power bills.

A day after the town fiesta last Oct 7, the power co-op launched a mobile public announcement reminding the town’s 9,000 power consumers that their power bills were about to become due again.

And Oscar Brondia, the power cooperative’s director in Jose Panganiban, has yet to issue the right words that would calm down the hyper-mood of irate consumers.

Brondia is Canoreco’s elected director for the power utility in charge of Jose Panganiban accounts. 

He holds office at the town hall next to the office of the mayor. 

Consumers said that Canoreco, which means  Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative, had most of the time spoiled important occasions by cutting off power, like for instance the celebrated homecoming of alumni of the Jose Panganiban National High School (JPNHS) last April and the celebration of the town fiesta on Oct 6-7.

It would be recalled that brownout struck at the height of Mayor Ricarte Padilla’s impassioned speech before the gathered alumni. 

He was seen visibly irked.

The same annoying incident happened while the morning religious service was taking place, keeping the alumni wondering as to what the priest was trying to tell them in his sermon.

And at the dance party that night, most alumni quit as power went off, leaving the whole school campus in pitch black.

In his recent posting on Facebook account operated by a group of Mambulaoans, Brondia said that the town’s recently installed 5MVA substation transformer at Sta Rosa has not yet been commissioned by tapping to the 69KV transmission grid of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

“The reason of the recurring trips off and brownouts experienced in the town is attributed to overloaded/imbalance load. 

“Though the town has its own substation, it is not yet tapped to the 69KV transmission line of the NGCP, hence, the municipalities of Jose Panganiban and Paracale are still sharing the ailing/overloaded (5MVA) substation at Paracale,” Brondia’s post said.

However, Brondia did not explain why Jose Panganiban’s substation could not be put online.

The new substation transmitter was funded by a P150 million loan from the PCI-Equitable Bank.

Brondia told MWBuzz last April that the power overload in the system was being caused by a number of users such as small-scale gold mining operators who had tapped the power grid illegally.

He also said a team from the power cooperative was to begin dismantling said illegal power connections and appropriate legal charges filed against the culprits.

A source from the local government unit said the board of directors of Canoreco is in talks regarding ways to deal with the power crisis in Mambulao.

Meanwhile, the heat on the cooperative continues to scorch.
Irate power consumers had zeroed in on the alleged inefficiency and corruption at the power cooperative, which distributes electricity in the province.

One Facebook user said that the municipal government of Padilla should tell the people if it has a real solution to the daily brownouts being suffered by the community.

“They should tell the consumers what they intend to do for the sake of transparency instead of keeping whatever they are to themselves.”

The poster said the LGU “should not keep us in the dark …”
Another Facebook poster commented that “the endless outages are counter-productive”.

The new Canoreco director for Mambulao will be elected by cooperative’s member-consumers for a three-year term during the second semester of 2013. 

It would be easy to guess by now that Brondia won’t return to his job for another three-year term after next year’s power co-op election.

It used to be held during the first semester of the year when the director’s term of office has expired.

However, to avoid confusing the co-op election with the local elections, the (power co-op) election has been postponed for the next semester.

There are 120 electric cooperatives in the country which are getting financial and technical support from the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

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