Duterte issues EO giving President power to take over ailing electric coops

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2021 11:25 AM

 Linemen work on electrical posts on a street in Mandaluyong on September 15, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Linemen work on electrical posts on a street in Mandaluyong on September 15, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File


MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an Executive Order (EO) that would ensure reliable electricity service in the country, including empowering the chief executive to take over ailing electric cooperatives. 

Duterte's EO No. 156 signed Thursday allows the President to assume control of what could be considered as an "ailing" electric cooperative based on implementing rules and regulations under Republic Act No. 10531 or the National Electrification Administration (NEA) Reform Act of 2013. 

NEA previously held this power. 

"The power to exercise step-in rights and take over the operations of ailing electric cooperatives... to improve the financial condition of such electric cooperatives, is hereby transferred to the Office of the President," the EO read. 

NEA was also directed to report to the President's office the status of ailing cooperatives within 30 days of the EO issuance. This should be done through the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE was, meanwhile, ordered to prioritize areas they deemed "remote" or unviable for electricity supply through "alternative service providers or qualified third parties."

The President said this is part of mechanisms to ensure that electricity will reach inadequately served areas based on a distributor's submitted timeline for satisfactory service (TSS).

He also mandated distribution utilities to submit a Comprehensive Electrification Master Plan (CEMP) that would lead to the "total electrification" of their covered franchise areas which include the following: 

  • Detailed inventory of inadequately served areas
  • Action plans, programs for the implementation of the area's total electrification
  • Specific timelines for the action plan to deliver the TSS
  • Budgetary requirements and sources of funding

The DOE has the power to reject or modify the CEMP if "it is not in accordance with the objective of total electrification or if it will not provide the highest quality and least cost of service for providing electricity."

Last June, the country's power grid operator implemented rotating power outages in parts of Luzon as the available capacity dropped amid the demand. 

The DOE partly blamed the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the country's power grid operator, for the brownouts saying the company did not contract enough backup power.

In August, meanwhile, Duterte also signed a law creating the country's Energy Research and Policy Institute, which will be tasked with conducting research on energy and guiding government in crafting sound energy policy guidelines.

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