Albay brownouts from worse to worst

THE militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Bikol (Bayan-Bikol) are once again up in arms as it takes to task the worsening daily power outages in the province of Albay and blames the National Power Corporation, which has taken over the operations of the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco), for the crisis.

This, even as the militant group said that they were amenable to a proposed dialogue sounded off by Napocor managers to discuss the problem and other areas of concern provided that Napocor should end or at least minimize first the recurring power outages.

Tessa Lopez, Bayan-Bikol spokesperson, said “such a dialogue should also be the venue for ferreting out the truth behind the brown outs and not be used as a platform for the privatization of ALECO.”

She added they could not just believe Napocor’s explanation that the power outages were caused by the protruding branches of trees that stand along the power lines.

Napocor has taken over last July 2008 the operations of cash-strapped Aleco, presumably to solve the power distribution firm’s deteriorating service and operations.

“When we exposed the horrendous brown outs last week, we were experiencing 4 to 7 power outages a day. Now it has increased to 5-8 last Saturday which started at 5:30 am until 1: 30 pm,” Lopez said.

And she asked: “How can Albayanos live a normal life and pursue a conducive business climate when a basic service like electricity can’t even be provided properly?”

The militant group insists that as a wiser measure, Aleco should immediately be converted into a genuine cooperative that is run by Albayanos for Albayanos.

Those in the know, however, told Bicol Mail, that conversion of electric cooperatives into full-fledged one had long expired, after the electric cooperatives all over the country were given a time-frame as mandated by law for them to decide whether they should register as people’s cooperative with the Cooperative Development Authority or stay as they are — a non-coop despite their corporate names – under the organizational and operational supervision of the National Electrification Administration.(BicolMail)

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