Local church opposes privatization of electric coop

People shall not be deprived of ownership and control of a property that helps illuminate their homes and propel their local industries, says Father Bong Imperial.

February 13 2014, 1:26 PM
Local church opposes privatization of electric coop
Soreco II sub-station on Gubat town.

The Catholic Church will oppose attempts to privatise Sorsogon Electric Cooperative II (Soreco II), Sorsogon Diocese Media Relation Officer Father Bong Imperial said in a recent interview.

People shall not be deprived of ownership and control of a property that helps illuminate their homes and propel their local industries, he said. To ‘squander’ such property is to make the people poorer.

Allowing the cooperative to go into the full control of a private power company is a big loss on the part of the people and will also create loss of jobs for people employed by the cooperative, said Father Imperial.

If Soreco II’s current management fails to turn around the situation, the cooperative was likely to follow the course taken by Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco), he said. 

Aleco was taken over by San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC), a private power company, last year for its continuous failure to assume its financial liabilities.

In the case of Aleco, the power firm will not assume the cooperative’s accountabilities, Father Imperial said. The consumers will do. And the company will not absorb the cooperative’s employees.

SMEC is eyeing to control the entire power distribution in Bicol Region, under Aquino’s Private Partnership Program power policy, by taking over ailing electric cooperatives, he said.

If Soreco II falls into private hands, electricity rates may go up and the private power firm cannot guarantee that power interruptions will finally be addressed, the priest said.

The cooperative is still suffering from the consequences of its mishandling by individuals who formerly ran and managed it, he said.

The mismanagement has generated an internal conflict between the previous administrators and the ranks, according to the priest. The cooperative was eventually found entrenched in deep financial liability and charging its member-consumers high electricity rates.

Electricity is essential to the communities in the province, the priest said, adding that the cooperative requires competent management to hold it from possible tailspin to irreparable debt.

The present hike in power rate proposed by the current management is overpriced as cited by one Cooperative employee, said Father Imperial. A lesser rate hike only is required to meet the price adjustments for power generation and transmission.

The priest said the local church will definitely do all it can to keep Soreco II in the hands of member-consumers.

Source: CBCP News

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