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Editorial: Punish the corrupt

The revelation of a power industry expert last week that some Mindanao areas will still experience power outages during the summer this year despite the fact that there is a glut is an indication of how some distributing utilities are misbehaving.

Romeo M. Montenegro, deputy executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority and technical head of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Council, told TIMES last week that the electricity glut in Mindanao of about 800 megawatts is not an assurance that no areas will experience brownouts because some electric cooperatives have not done the job entrusted to them by their members.

Although he did not mention which areas are experiencing electricity problems, one key indicator is that some electric distributing entities, particularly the electric cooperatives,  have gone to coming up with palliative solutions to their power needs. This is because they are either mismanaged or that their management has committed malfeasance.

On the mismanagement aspect of running electric cooperatives, some of them have contracted more than what they need from sources that are either not available or command high prices. Of course, they do not mind that the rates will go up because, unless stopped by the regulators, they can just pass these on to the consumers.

On wrongdoings, several cooperatives have incurred very large debts because their management has gone into turning these entities into milking cows to the detriment of their consumers. Despite this obvious fact, no one has been punished.

Have the regulators been functioning as they should in overseeing the operations of these entities? Do they need to have new policies to address these concerns? Or have their officials been in collusion with these entities to the detriment of the consumers?

These are vital questions that can only be answered if a no non-sense industry audit is done. And those who have committed these grave acts must also be punished.



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