• Electricity woes throttle Muslim provinces

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    COTABATO CITY: Incumbent officials of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur province expressed dismay over the unstable supply of electricity, which they said, hamper development efforts and deter investments.

    The Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (Magelco) now distributes only 2.9 megawatts of its usual 10-megawatt supply from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Corp. (Psalm) because of accumulated arrears amounting to P768 million since 2005.

    Magelco General Manager Edna Lidasan has complained that their collectibles from delinquent customers were compounded by rampant illegal connections resulting in a 46-percent system loss.

    Saying she just inherited the problem, Lidasan appealed for cooperation to bring back normalcy in power distribution. She blamed their poor collection to poverty and peace and order woes.

    She said some areas in Ma–guindanao were experiencing outages of eight to 12 hours a day.

    Maj. Dante Gania of the Army’s Sixth Infantry Division said a recent explosion at a transmission tower in Sultan Kudarat town could have been the work of disgruntled Magelco concessionaires.

    Lidasan said that out of the P786 million that Magelco owed the PSALM, P9 million to P10 million were unpaid electric bills of local governments.

    Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao has joined Magelco’s call for delinquent customers, especially local governments, to pay up.

    “Why can’t the LGU settle light or water bills when this is incorporated in their maintenance and other operating expenditures?” Mangudadatu asked.

    On the other hand, disgruntled power consumers led by lawyer Boni Balt have besought higher authorities including the Energy Regulatory Commission to institute punitive sanctions against alleged irregularities in the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative.

    The complaining consumers revealed that the Lasureco management has not held elections for its board of directors since “time immemorial” and has accumulated close to P1 billion in debt to the National Power Corp. and other power-suppliers.

    For its part, the administration of Gov. Mamintal Alonto-Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur blamed the Napocor for not paying the provincial government its revenue share from hydroelectric generation in Lake Lanao.

    The lake’s Agus River has been installed with six power plants that supply over 60 percent of Mindanao’s electricity.

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