Morion masks conceal real faces of people.
During last Saturday’s general membership meeting of the Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Marelco), hosts Menchie Gaan and William Bobis took turns in explaining how the most recent power interruptions were caused either by “sumabit na palapa sa electric wire in Tarug”, “kawayan na sumabit sa wire in Tawiran”, “trip-offs”, “daga na pumasok sa power barge”, etc. etc.
Coconut leaves or tree branches falling into power lines or rats interfering in human affairs causing power trip-offs are apparently things that Marelco management sees as inevitable, that electric consumers just have to live with them. As explained, there was no load shedding scheme being implemented recently as a result of any power deficiency. The 1,200 or so out of Marelco’s 43,994 members, found sufficient for a quorum to be declared, sat in silence, as they eagerly awaited the raffle draws.
The hosts also took turns explaining a Marelco board resolution that needed to be ratified by the membership, one that has to do with the restructuring of the electric cooperatives unpaid power bill with the National Power Corporation. It is in the amount of Php 68.9-million inclusive of a contested amount of Php 21-million (representing discounts and interests), now the subject of a case filed with ERC. The hosts informed the audience that NPC’s proposed MOA requires that Marelco properties should be attached to it, but due to certain restrictions brought about by previous loans with NEA this could not be done. A resolution, they said, must be issued requesting NPC for a “MOA without collateral”.
Another item presented by the hosts was also the need to ratify a resolution approved by the board on the utilization of a 69 KV line from Balanacan Power Barge to the Boac Diesel Power Plant. This, they said, would address and minimize the perennial systems loss problem that aggravates the current situation. During the open forum, a member stood up to move that the resolution should be changed from one “approving the immediate utilization of 69 KV line from Balanacan Power Barge to Boac Diesel Power Plant” to one “requesting the NPC for Marelco’s utilization of 69 KV line…”
FINDING A NEW POWER PROVIDER
It was then announced that Marelco, on March 4 and 11, 2011, published in the Philippine Star an invitation for New Power Providers to apply for eligibility and to bid for the supply of a brand new Modular Type Diesel Hybrid Power Plant with capacity to deliver 3,000,000 kwh per month to the Marelco system. Marelco, now with “go signal” from ERC, will undertake this competitive selection process, they said, without need for any transaction advisor. This, they add, may eventually involve “direct purchase or rental by the new power provider of NPC generators".
Pre-qualification evaluation, they said, will be undertaken on May 31, 2011, receipt of bids from bidders by the Special Bids and Awards Committee on June 20, 2011, and awarding of a Power Supply Agreement is scheduled on September 5, 2011.
Commercial operation by the new power provider is expected, as will be required by Marelco, after 270 days from the award of contract - that is, by June 2012.
In its Marelco News special issue of April-September 2010, Marelco stated: “To cast away doubts and ensure transparency, information on the schedule of activities and other pertinent issues/concerns relative to CSP launching and forthcoming bidding will be posted through the internet. Further, to ascertain the satisfactory conduct of transparent and meritorious competitive bidding, the same would be televised; every move will be recorded. No mischief will go undetected”.
That actually saw print. From what I gather, those schedules, issues and concerns relative to the CSP have not been posted in any website, so far, not even in Marelco’s Facebook page which it utilizes when making announcements.
All the power stakeholders in Marinduque are, of course, one with Marelco in that elusive dream of finding a permanent solution to the power crisis that has engulfed this off-grid island-province. But all eyes and ears must now be directed to it as the electric cooperative undertakes the smooth and properly conduct of the selection process for a new power provider. It ensures transparency in this process, it says, but that’s something that has sadly eluded this electric cooperative since the crisis started. But, maybe this time. So, all the best.