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DavNor guv appeals to Daneco: Allow us to seek other providers

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib has appealed to the management of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) to allow the province to seek other power service providers due to the cooperative’s high cost and poor service.

“We hope Daneco will respect the decision of the people of Davao del Norte. Our people can no longer pay 2 to 3 pesos more per KWH while having more brownouts and bad service and having no representation in the board. We have given Daneco 40 years to improve, my administration even tried to dialogue with them, but they refused to recognize us,” Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib said.

“They can continue serving Davao de Oro and the other LGUs who chose to stay. The people of Davao del Norte have decided, our leaders have decided. We are appealing to Daneco, please let us go.”

The issue has crossed political lines with local government units in Davao del Norte, along with the municipality of Maco in Davao de Oro have asked Congress that they join the frranchsie area of Davao Light and Power citing the expsneive power, frequent interrutpions and bad service of Daneco are hampering the economic growth of their areas.

The provincial government of Davao del Norte, along with the city councils of Tagum and Island Garden City of Samal, as well as the municipal councils of Kapalong, Talaingod, San Isidro and New Corella passed unanimous resolutions supporting their exit from Daneco.

Despite many of the councils split politically, the resolutions were passed unanimously.

Close to 120 barangay councils, or close to 90% of the barangays, from the affected areas also signified support for the move, which is also baked by unanimous resolutions from local business chambers and tourism organziations.

Davao del Norte first district Representative Pantaleon Alvarez also supports the move of the LGUs citing the electric cooperative’s “lousy service.”

“I am in favor of the cancellation of franchise of the NORDECO because of its lousy service. The power utility, for long years, was standing in the way of Davao del Norte’s development,” Alvarez said earlier.

Jubahib belied claims by Daneco that there was no due process accorded to the electric cooperative. In 2020 Governor Jubahib along with the mayors of Davao del Norte sent a letter to the Daneco board requesting that the province be allowed to leave the electric cooperative. Attached to the letter are thousands of signatures from residents.

A copy of the petition was sent to the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Instead of replying to the petition, Daneco held a press conference in April 2021 and called the petition and the signature campaign as “fake.”

Davao Light is currently serving Davao City and Davao del Norte localities of Panabo City, Carmen, Sto. Tomas, as well as Dujali.

The local government leaders complained that they are paying close to P3/kwh more than Davao Light, yet they experience more frequent brownouts, poor power quality, bad customer service, and lack of power infrastructure which is making the province un-attractive to business and preventing the economic growth of their localities as well as negatively affecting the lives of the people.

Local government units also allocate millions of pesos every year to donate electric poles, transformers and other equipment to Daneco just to energize areas in their localities. Davao del Norte in particular also complained that they used to have only two seats in the 7-man board of directors in Daneco, despite the province having close to 70% of the energy demand of the electric cooperative.

The electric cooperative has not had an election for its board of directors since 2012. All the board of directors have been appointed ever since.

Meanwhile, Davao Light, despite having cheaper power and better service, also pays more than P150-million annually in franchise taxes, local business taxes, and real property taxes to its local government units. Daneco, being a cooperative, does not pay taxes.

Samal Island in particular, has also been complaining of poor quality of power in the island, affecting the tourism industry.

Instead of upgrading the existing 1.5-kilometer submarine cable connecting the island with mainland Davao, or invest on a long term connection solution through the ongoing 4-kilometer Davao-Samal bridge project, Daneco announced they are instead building a massive 25-kilometer, P1.5 billion submarine cable connecting the island with far-away Pantukan municipality.

However, the Energy Regulatory Commission, which approves investments of distribution utilities and electric cooperatives as a means to regulate power rates, formally said they have not approved such multi-billion project.

The ERC also said during the Congressional hearing the franchise that they have issued several show cause orders to Daneco for the cooperative’s failure to submit required reports on their technical and financial performance to the regulating body.

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