Senator tells Nordeco to improve services or let other power firms to operate

Photo from RGL
Photo from RGL

SENATOR Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian said the management of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Nordeco) should step up its performance or else, allow other power distribution firms to serve its franchise area.

"They have to demonstrate that they have improved their services, lowered down rates, [and] expand to the area where there is no electricity," the Senator said.

"If that is not the case, let others join in," he added.

Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on energy, told SunStar Davao in an ambush interview at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on Tuesday, March 21, that he is aware of the issues surrounding by Nordeco over the past years.

Nordeco, formerly known as Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Daneco), has been criticized by its consumer cooperatives for its failure to provide a stable power supply to its area coverage.

In the previous years, the management was divided into two factions, resulting in the national government, under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte stepping in and resolving the issue.

Gatchalian said the management's rebranding didn't reflect improved changes.

"The changing name doesn't reflect a changing performance or an improvement of performance. If not, allow others, the private sector, in particular, to come in, because kawawa naman ang consumers," he said.

Various stakeholders participated in the “awareness” rally against Nordeco on March 13 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Davao Consumer Movement, who also participated in the rally, is supporting congressional proposals seeking to transfer the rest of Davao del Norte and Maco in Davao de Oro to become franchise area of Davao Light and Power Co. (Davao Light).

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, nearly a month since assuming the presidency, vetoed House Bill No. 10554, which would have expanded the coverage area of the Davao Light to the cities of Tagum and Island Garden City of Samal and the towns of Talaingod, Asuncion, Kapalong, San Isidro and New Corella in Davao del Norte. The areas are currently serviced by Nordeco, which has been criticized by key officials in the province and some of its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) due to frequent brownouts and poor service.

Three bills related to Davao Light's expansion have been filed in the House of Representatives. As of writing, no bills were filed at the Senate. Although, Dabawenyo Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa had voiced his opinion on the current power woe in the province.

"Your arguments are exactly the same as mine when I co-sponsored that bill (proposing for the transfer) regardless of who gets angry at me as long as the greater majority [benefits] from the said measure but unluckily it was vetoed by the President," the Dabawenyo senator said in the comment section dated December 29, 2022.

Gatchalian, on the other hand, said his stand on the matter would depend on the situation.

"Depende sa situation. I don't know if Nordeco would improve. It really depends on the situation. Eh, kung tomorrow eh maging maganda na ang pagpatakbo nila, then there's no more need to expand. It really depends on their performance," he said. RGL


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