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Nordeco continues to face pressure as 3,000 protestors rally

SOME 3,000 protestors joined the motorcade rally against the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative in Tagum City as they pushed for the transfer of the rest of the province and Maco in Davao de Oro to the Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC).

Among the speakers of the Tagum City Chamber of Commerce and Industry-led protest rally was Dr. Bernardo Ang, chair of the Davao Regional Medical Center-Department of Surgery, who complained about the power outages, especially during emergency operations.

“We have (an) experience nga in the middle of operation nag brownout. The operation was stopped,” said Ang, pointing out that the power provider has a social obligation under this circumstance because it was an instrument in the patient’s death.

He and Virgilio Agunod, former president of the business organization, also tagged Nordeco for being not transparent even in their bills.

Ang said the electric cooperative has two problems, “social justice and transparency,” as he pointed out that it was not transparent with its operations.

Agunod said the cooperative must explain the bills considering that its consumers are paying high compared with other regional distribution providers, including DLPC and other cooperatives.

At present, four bills have been filed before Congress for transferring the province and Maco to DLPC even as other areas of the province – Panabo City, Santo Tomas, Carmen, and Braulio Dujali – are already under the DLPC franchise area.

The rally started at 7 a.m. with a motorcade, which took off about nine kilometers from the convergence area at Rotary Park.

This developed as the cooperative management reached out to the business sector to explain its side. In a press conference, officials said they would discuss the issues the business sector has brought against the cooperative.

On one of the issues, the high power rates, Elvira Alngog, the officer in charge of the cooperative, blamed it on the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management for allegedly allocating the large volume of its power in the Agus and Pulangi power complexes to DLPC.

However, Ryan Amper, co-convenor of the Davao Consumer Movement, countered this by saying that Nordeco has the highest rate among the three cooperatives based on their research.

“Blaming PSALM is not the answer. We as consumers need a better explanation,” he said, recalling how Nordeco has not even fixed the submarine cable that connects the Island Garden City of Samal to the grid and instead tapped a provider of modular generator sets to energize the island city, the primary tourist destination in the island.

On December 25, the submarine cable, which was connected to the grid through the transmission system of the DLPC, conked out. Instead of fixing the system, the cooperative relied on the Mindoro Grid Corp., through the Igacos Light and Power Co., which has deployed its generation sets.

Amper, whose group was among those who joined the protest, said that by relying on the generator sets, the whole franchise area of Nordeco has experienced higher power rates of more than P15 per kilowatt-hour.

“Is this their way of selling its P1.4 billion submarine cable project to the consumers?” he said, pointing out that the 15-kilometer project has not even been approved by the Energy Regulation Commission even when the cooperative has announced that it has started its implementation.

On the congressional bills, officials of Nordeco said during the press conference that they believed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would just repeat its veto, which the President exercised when a similar proposal was approved by Congress last year.

However, Amper believed the President would support the bills this time. “The President knows we cannot continue with the status quo. The people of Davao del Norte and Maco have spoken,” he said.


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