CASURECO II power cut imminent

RTC Judge Marvel Clavecilla summons CASURECO II officers to explain why they should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for not heeding his advice in not imposing higher power rates. (PHOTO: BICOL STANDARD)

The entire coverage area of CASURECO II will be in total darkness once it fails to raise enough money to cover the power bills due this month.

This was revealed by an insider who claims that with the present injunctive order that is being implemented by the Regional Trial Court, the cooperative will lose millions of pesos.

It will be recalled that Hon. Marvel Clavecilla, presiding judge of Branch 33 of the Regional Trial Court, ordered the officers and members of the Board last week to explain why OIC General Manager Ed Adlao defied the clear instruction barring CASURECO from enforcing its own rates different from what the RTC decision mandates.

Judge Clavecilla ruled that the electric cooperative should only charge P8.42 per kilowatt hour.
At the same time, he said that the cooperative is enjoined from enforcing disconnection orders.
CASURECO II, on the other hand, prior to the hearing yesterday, implemented a P15.39 per kilowatt hour rate. This is due to the spike in power prices brought about by the almost simultaneous maintenance and repair of Malampaya gas field, Bacon-Manito (BacMan) geothermal plant, and Masinloc Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant.

Judge Clavecilla explained that despite the supervening event that resulted in the price hike, the injunctive writ must be adhered upon.

Acting motu proprio, he directed all the members of the Board, including OIC General Manager Adlao to follow the order strictly to the letter. Otherwise, they will be cited for indirect contempt.
In an interview, Adlao said that he will heed the court mandate.

Power consumers within the coverage area of CASURECO II will be billed P8.42 per kilowatt hour, and no disconnection orders will be issued or implemented.

This would mean, however, that for every kilowatt hour of power consumption, the cooperative will lose P6.97 per kilowatt hour, based on the P15.39 rate, which the cooperative want to collect.
The latter figure, said Adlao, was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
In the same interview, Adlao admitted that PEMC and WESM are demanding CASURECO II to pay on January 15 the amount of P89 million as prudential guarantee security deposit.

Apart from this, CASURECO II must pay WESM the amount of P197 million; Masinloc, P60 million; and BacMan, P20 million for the November to December 2013 billing month on January 25.

These amounts combined make CASURECO II’s operation no longer viable, hence, the impending disconnection, Adlao added.

He further said that even assuming that the distribution utility is able to collect 100 percent from the members of the cooperative, there is no way that it can pay the maturing obligations.

This would mean that the power supply would be disconnected.

Affected areas with the impending disconnection are the City of Naga, Pili, Minalabac, Milaor, Calabanga, Tinambac, Siruma, Bombon, Canaman, and Magarao.

At present, CASURECO II has a pending appeal with the Court of Appeals which includes a prayer for the lifting of the injunctive writ issued by Branch 33 of the Regional Trial Court.

Atty. Nixon Tabora, legal counsel for CASURECO II, said that he will file a motion with the Court of Appeals for an early resolution of the pending case.

Judge Marvel Clavecilla, during the hearing, persuaded the management and Board of Directors of CASURECO II to look for other avenues that would avert the impending power problem.

He stated that he would even advise cooperative officials to look for other influential persons like congressmen, senators, and other politicians who could assist them in requesting the Court of Appeals to act expeditiously upon the case.

Otherwise, he said that the writ of injunction will stay. It means that the electric cooperative is prohibited from imposing and collecting an amount different from the court-mandated figure.