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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Power co-op Batelec II draws flak from Batanguenos for poor service

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LIPA CITY – Residents from various municipalities in Batangas have raised alarm over the worsening power service provided by their local power cooperative, the Batangas II Electric Cooperative (Batelec II).
Batelec II is the distributor of electric power to the towns of San Juan, Taysan, Lobo, Rosario, Mabini, Tingloy, Bauan, San Pascual, Ibaan, Alitagtag, Cuenca, San Jose, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Padre Garcia, Malvar, Talisay, Laurel, and Batangas City.
Residents in the coverage area of Batelec II decried the recurring scheduled power outages coupled with the high generation rates levied upon consumers.
According to most of their complaints, the frequent power interruptions can last up to several hours, resulting in great inconvenience to their daily lives and massive losses to their businesses.
Batelec II Consumer Services and Public Relations Manager Joan Orias said the power interruptions across Batangas are due to storms and other weather disturbances that cause damage to power lines and insulations.
It was recently reported that damages to five power lines across Lipa City caused class cancellations at De La Salle Lipa.
Over 90 percent of Batangas, a prime tourist destination and highly industrialized province in the Calabarzon region, is serviced by Batelec I and Batelec II.
But Nina Balogo, a business owner in Taysan, says her piggery livelihood is greatly impacted by Batelec II’s unreliable service.
She said each interruption “has a double effect on their operations. Power outages at the piggery also result in water service interruption, a crucial utility used in daily operations.”
Mae Panganiban, a housewife in Lobo, said the almost daily power interruptions have negatively impacted their family’s health and wellbeing. She said the dry season is exacerbated by lack of power service, resulting in sleepless nights and bouts of flu.
Work-from-home employees who are heavily reliant on consistent service from both internet providers and electricity to fulfill their daily tasks are also up in arms.
Ruth Manguiat from Mabini and Yanna Yee from Lipa City expressed their frustration about having to find alternative workspaces outside their homes every time Batelec II announces a scheduled power interruption, defeating the purpose of their WFH arrangements.
Another concern of residents is the strain unreliable electricity puts on their appliances. Constant surges and outages affect electrical components and cause early degradation and even breakage, they said.
The uproar among Batangas residents against Batelec II has reached their local governments.
Councilors John Michael Anyayahan and Mark Tiu of Lobo town have expressed their dismay towards the underperforming electric cooperative and have filed resolutions to formalize these complaints.
Concerned officials are hoping the resolutions ultimately reach Congress for immediate action.
For Tiu, Batelec II’s system and infrastructure are outdated, and are currently insufficient to effectively and efficiently electrify the municipalities under its service.
“In case the current cooperative is unable or unwilling to overhaul and upgrade its facilities, the municipality is open to a congressional intervention to improve the service for all Batangueños,” the councilor said.
House Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin Tulfo has also filed a resolution along with other legislators calling for the removal of franchise from underperforming power cooperatives across the country.

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