Regulator to probe power co-ops’ reliability

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The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said on Friday that it would be investigating the performance of 121 electric cooperatives (ECs) under its watch.

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NEA Deputy Administrator Artis Nikki Tortola said the agency’s Technical Services and the Engineering Department would determine if all ECs were meeting standards outlined by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The probe will particularly focus on cooperatives with existing customer complaints over reliability and the duration and frequency of power disruptions. These include the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco), Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc., Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc., and Aklan Electric Cooperative Inc.- Boracay area.

“There is no exemption. If they fail, we will determine the reasons behind this and take appropriate actions,” Tortola said.

Tortola earlier met with Paleco general manager Ric Zambales and technical services engineer Ricardo Adajao to discuss recurring power interruptions since the start of the year.

Paleco claimed that transmission line and maintenance faults were behind most of the outages.

“One notable reason is the issue on vegetation, not just involving the distribution system of Paleco, but most especially on the transmission lines,” Tortola noted.

The investigation was prompted by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, head of the Senate energy committee, who ordered the NEA to look into prolonged power outages in Puerto Princesa.

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