Electric coop opposes HB 10554 passage

The Northern Davao Electric Cooperative Inc. (NORDECO) on Thursday strongly opposes the approval of House Bill 10554 before the 18th Congress on January 24, 2022.

In a statement, the Electric Cooperative (EC) said the prerogative of the House of Representatives to amend and/or repeal the franchise pursuant to Article XI, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution must have been curtailed by the prevailing laws.

House Bill 10554 entitled, “An Act Expanding the Franchise Area of Davao Light and Power Company, Inc., Under Republic Act 8960, Entitled ‘An Act Further Extending the Term of the Franchise Granted to Davao Light and Power Company, Inc. to Construct, Operate and Maintain an Electric Light, Heat, and Power System in Davao City and the Municipalities of Carmen, Panabo, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas, Province of Davao del Norte, for a period of Twenty Five (25) years and Other Purposes.”

Nordeco said that the said bill was recommended for approval by the Legislative Franchise Committee on November 29, 2021, despite the non-submission of position papers from the National Electrification Administration, Department of Energy, and Energy Regulatory Commission after its 1 hour and 45 minutes discussion.

Two days after on December 1, 2021, it was calendared and approved for second reading.

“House Bill 10554 is not a law as the same would still be deliberated before the House of Senate where Nordeco, Inc. believes that the Electric Cooperative and its 234,644 member-consumer-owners would be accorded with due process and that a thorough deliberation and study would be conducted,” the statement added.

Its impact according to Nordeco should also be considered to the Municipalities of Laak, Mabini, Pantukan, Monkayo, Montevista, Compostela, New Bataan, Nabunturan, Maragusan, and Mawab, Davao de Oro Province whose member-consumer-owners would bear the burden of an increased generation rate of about PHP17 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from about PHP6 per kWh once the bill is approved into law.

“Nordeco’s franchise is legal and still valid and existing to date and by virtue of it, NORDECO, Inc. shall continue to uphold what is stipulated in Section 41 (c) of Republic Act 6038 (the National Electrification Administration Act) – no franchise shall be granted to any other person within any area or portion for which a cooperative holds a franchise,” the statement added.

Nordeco also cited that its franchise is yet to expire in 2028 except for the Island Garden City of Samal which is yet to expire in 2033.

“Under Section 27 of Republic Act 9136 (Energy Power Industry Reform Act) – All existing franchise shall be allowed in their full term,” the electric coop added.

Despite the challenges hurdled in its franchise, Nordeco assured to stand on its ground protecting the Electric Cooperative as it shall continue to serve its member-consumer-owners towards attaining sustainable development through Rural Electrification within its franchise coverage area.