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Maguindanao may have ‘total darkness’

Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao—There might be widespread and more frequent power outages in this province, if consumers failed to come to terms with the heavily indebted Maguindanao Electric Cooperative.

Engineer Sultan Ashary Maongco, Magelco general-manager, warned on Thursday that the whole of Maguindanao Province could experience total darkness, if the electric cooperative fails to pay P 27 million to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., and P 9.7 million to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines  in monthly debt repayment installments, before the end of October.

Maongco said Magelco owed the National Power Corp. some P30 million in unpaid power purchases in the past, which over years of incurring increments from interest rates, hds balooned to about P 1.5 billion to date.

He said a way to prevent such a situation would be to upgrade two substations with high-end step-up transformers.

Maongco said prevention moves were at best doable, if dormant and delinquent accounts among local power consumers were settled, to enable Magelco to service on old bad debts. 

Now, the cooperative’s debt servicing has been inherited from Napocor by the PSAM as its new creditor, under Republic Act 9136, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

EPIRA has created PSALM, a government-owned and controlled corporation, which has taken over all generational assets of the Napocor.

Maongco said some P 23 milion in Magelco’s average monthly collections from local power consumers would have to be augmented with a bank loan program to cover up for the shortfall, mainly caused by delinquent consuners’ accounts.

He called on the province's power consumers to come to terms with Magelco through a restructuring agreement on having to pay individual debts in household accounts.

Last August, an assembly of 2,500 good-rated consumers resolved to ratify the management's proposition to offer delinquent accounts with new settlement terms in an individual restructuring agreement.

Maongco said while Magelco under him had achieved administrative and operational reforms, like development of databank, and increased distribution capacity in its service areas, returns have been slow in terms of consumers' payments.

He said Magelco owed the Napocor P 30 million in unpaid power purchases in the past, which over years of incurring increments from interest rates, has balooned to about P 1.5 billion to date.

Maongco said in Matanog alone, resident consumers owed Magelco some P 6.4 million in unsettled dormant or even delinquent accounts.

For as much similar reason, residents of neaby Sultan Mastura, Parang and Barira towns have also complained they were in darkness for almost a week now.

Graphically, the Magelco database has showed that 60 percent of its consumers appeared to have been delinquent in their accounts settlement of electric bills with the 43-year-old electric cooperative.

But Maongco said many also have availed of the Magelco's debt restructuring program for consumers with huge outstanding balances in unpaid electric bills, accumulating over years.

Topics: Maguindanao Electric Cooperative , Ashary Maongco , Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp
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