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IMC bail-out good for us PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:00

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — I just got word from my ever-reliable CIA (Citizen In Action) that Meralco has submitted its bid for an Investment and Management Contract (IMC) to run the operations of the beleaguered Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco). That’s an economic bailout that the citizens of Zamboanga needs.

Over a year ago, I’ve said that Zamboangueños were on the edge of their seats as far as power efficiency and stability are concerned. I went on to say that if we lose all sources of energy because Zamcelco is strangulated with a P1.5 billion debt, and rising, and, therefore, unable to pay its obligations to independent power producers, we will live in darkness.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) two years ago recommended eight remedies to bailout Zamcelco from the brink of total collapse and save the consumers from the verge of madness. One of the modes was the hiring of an IMC. When put into motion, the IMC will infuse fresh capital into Zamcelco and make available managerial and technical expertise to SAVE and REHABILITATE a dying power coop.

Another point is that the IMC will help Zamcelco regain financial, technical and operational equilibrium within a reasonable period of time from the effective date of the contract — the primary goal of which is to ENSURE QUALITY, RELIABLE and AFFORDABLE POWER SUPPLY for ZAMBOANGA CITY.

As NEA defines it: the IMC is an intervention for private sector involvement in the country’s electric cooperatives. It is a contract between an electric firm and a private investor whereby the latter shall be required to infuse funds to cover the payment of and provisions for certain obligations of the electric cooperative and manage and operate the electric coop for a performance-based renumeration.

The IMC will guarantee that Zamboanga WON’T HAVE ABRUPT, LONG BLACKOUTS BECAUSE OF TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS TO THE SYSTEM.

Yes, there is really a need to upgrade Zamcelco’s system. Unannounced and power outages occur because of row problems, poor maintenance of lines and worn out, overloaded transformers. Millions of pesos, the kind of money that Zamcelco doesn’t have to invest, will be needed to upgrade the system.

Also important is for Zamboanga to have its own efficient and sufficient power service before she becomes a federal state. In three years, we shall have another embedded power plant in San Ramon that will answer to the need of sustained and affordable power. A sister power company — the Western Mindanao Power Corp. — has long been in operation in Sangali that supplies 50 megawatts of power to Zamboanga. Both plants can generate more than enough power for the federal state of Zamboanga if, for example, the other federal states in Mindanao that we now draw power from cut us off to cater to their own power demands.

 
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