LEGAZPI CITY: For 18 years Albay Electric Cooperative Inc. (Aleco) piled up P3.7 billion in liabilities from continuous losses, Albay governor Joey Salceda claimed after Rep. Grecon Lagman (First District Albay) accused him of political corruption accusation.
The Regional Development Chairman pointed out that arrearages of the bankrupt power cooperative ballooned from continuous losses mostly high systems losses since l995 at 24 percent for the past 18 years.
Salceda thus explained after neophyte lawmaker Lagman blamed him for the mismanagement of Aleco.
“[Aleco] losses started way back 1995 when I was at the peak of my career in Swissbank when the ‘systems loss cap law’ went into effect,” Salceda told The Manila Times.
He said that per Department of Energy (DOE) estimate, financial losses from collection inefficiency amounted to P2.4 billion from 1995 to 2012. In 2012 alone, this amounted to P478 million.
Nelson Bautista, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines spokesman admitted to The Manila Times that massive power pilferage is taking place in Bicol far-flung areas but culprits go unpunished.
Aleco employees’ inefficiency according to the Albay governor contributed about P424 million and a small loss of P4 million in 2012.
“If we break down the expenses of Aleco, P2.1 billion of the P2.4 billion are covered by ORs to Aboitiz and Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. Moreover, depreciation and interest expense were largely “accrued” or non-cash, so they can hardly cover ‘dysfunctional behavior,’” Salceda explained.
The Aleco expense of P185 million is largely for salaries at P10 million per month leaving only P5 million for operations, which is why it could not operate efficiently leading to brownouts and thus aggravating revenue losses, he added.
“Now where is the proof of the pudding? I have politely asked DOE Secretary Jericho “Ikot” Petilla if he really thinks there is political corruption in Aleco, his answer is ‘No’ and he thinks the problem is largely structural and organizational—the inability to collect, the inability to bill and the inability to modernize,” Salceda said.
As this developed, Alvie Boral, Aleco public information officer said that the Interim Board of Director (IBOD) on August 23, approved the San Miguel Energy Corp. bid.
She said that in a letter sent to by the IBOD to SMEC, the board informed the company that its bid for the concession for the operations and maintenance of debt-ridden Aleco had been considered and approved as the single highest rated and responsive bidder.
However, the issuance of notice of award will be processed depending on the outcome of the September 14 referendum of Aleco consumers.