Some Mindanao electric coops still face power woes

DESPITE the power excess in Mindanao, power woes are still being experienced in provinces under electric cooperatives that are currently financially challenged, said an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

MinDA Deputy executive director Romeo Montenegro, in a recent interview, said Mindanao has experienced a complete reversal in terms of the island’s power supply with around 400 to 600 megawatts power excess compared to 600 megawatts deficiency four years ago during the Mindanao power crisis.

During the power crisis, areas in Mindanao experienced eight to 12 hours of rotating brownout.

“That’s why we don’t see rotating brown-outs occurring already in many areas in Mindanao except for certain provinces where electric cooperatives are financially challenged. They do not have enough contracts to be able to fill in their gaps. These are coops that are going through financial issues and have to be addressed by their cooperatives and National Electrification Administration (NEA) also,” said Montenegro.

He said NEA is making available funds for a facility to help address the financial struggles of specific electric cooperatives.

“Although, we will initially look on whether or not there is prudential guarantee available. NEA is also important to be able to provide them the detailed support in terms of financial capability,” Montenegro added.

To be able to address their financial woes, Montenegro said the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) and the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) are making ways to fast track their investment management contract with a potential private entity.

Montenegro also said the electric cooperatives in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), particularly those in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi are among the cooperatives with big financial obligations.

He said, aside from the financial problems, there are also certain electric cooperatives that are fully-contracted on paper but are still experiencing power shortage since the power plants are still being built and will be online still by next year.

“They don’t have that available electricity just yet. They have to wait up until the coming online of the power plants that they are contracted to,” he said. (JPA)

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