By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 5 (PNA) –- The plan being carried out by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to privatize Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) has engaged Albayanos in a clash of opinions — divided between the rich, in favor, and the poor, against.
The plan has become a burning issue in the wake of the recent power supply cut-off in the entire province as a measure of the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) to compel Aleco, the third biggest electric cooperative but touted as among the 10 worst in country, to settle unpaid electricity bills amounting to over P1 billion.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) cut off the power at noontime Wednesday last week and restored it after 29 hours on interventions made by City Mayor Noel Rosal as head of the province’s League of Cities, Albay 3rd district congressman Fernando Gonzales and Governor Joey Salceda.
As Albay Governor, I support the ongoing NEA-managed process of privatization of Aleco management to achieve our second goal after the power restoration: ensure continuous supply of power. We are grateful to Department of Energy Secretary Ikot (Jericho Petilla) for his kindness and we support his energy reforms,” Salceda said.
“History is on the side of privatization. I have not seen Meralco, Aboitiz, SM group-Chevron or SMC na pinutulan ng kuryente,” Salceda said, adding that in the privatization scheme, only the management will be given to corporations as Aleco is already private being not a public institution.