CONSUMERS and the business sector in parts of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro provinces held a motorcade Monday to push for the passage of a law that will transfer their areas’ electricity distribution to private firm Davao Light and Power Co., citing the continued inefficient service and high rates of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco).
A bill expanding the franchise area of Davao Light, an Aboitiz Power Corp. utility serving Davao City and parts of Davao del Norte, was passed in the previous Congress but was vetoed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Several bills have already been refiled in the House of Representatives in the current Congress.
“Power outages are frequent and prolonged, and the restoration of power takes an unreasonable amount of time. This lack of reliability has disrupted daily activities, caused significant losses to businesses, and compromised the safety of the community,” non-profit group Davao Consumer Movement said in a statement.
The group cited in particular the problem in tourism destination Samal, which has been under rotational brownouts and higher rates since December as the submarine cable delivering power to the island was damaged.
The business chamber of Tagum City, capital of Davao del Norte, supported Monday’s rally.
Davao del Norte Governor Edwin I. Jubahib expressed support for the protest action.
“I stand in solidarity with the Tagum Chamber of Commerce and the Davao Consumer Movement,” he said in a statement.
“I recognize that the high power rates and poor services of Nordeco not only affect our local businesses and households but also have a negative impact on our tourism industry, particularly in the cities of Tagum and the Island Garden City of Samal.”
“This puts them at a disadvantage compared to their competitors in other areas, which can lead to a negative impact on our local economy,” Mr. Jubahib added.
Nordeco officials held a press conference Monday where they gave reassurance that issues raised by consumers are being addressed.
“On the part of Nordeco, we respect the members/consumers airing their complaints. That’s natural and we take that as a challenge,” said Nordeco’s legal counsel Jeorge V. Rapista.
However, he said, the performance evaluation of the electric cooperative should be based on parameters set under the law and implemented by designated government agencies.
Elvera S. Alngog, Nordeco acting general manager, said the submarine cable to Samal is expected to be operational by April. — Maya M. Padillo