SMEC to take over Aleco next week

The San Miguel Electricity Corp. (SMEC) announced on Tuesday that it will fully assume the management and operation of the cash-strapped and debt-ridden Albay Energy Cooperative (Aleco) starting the first week of March.

Alan Marchan, the newly installed general manager of the Albay Power Energy Corp. (APEC) – the new name of Aleco, said that after conducting management, technical and operational audit of Aleco last January, SMC is now ready to fully take over the operation of the electric cooperative.

In a press conference Tuesday, Marchan said the SMEC is committed to assist the cooperative in transforming itself into an efficient and reliable power distribution utility.

He said the audit result conducted by their technical personnel revealed that the cooperative’s operation is saddled with technical problems, which include the "sorry state" of the cooperative’s power equipment and distribution lines, pilferage that led to high systems loss and poor collection performance.

The APEC chief said that based on the audit, their company’s priority program will be to bring down the systems loss to the allowable rate of 13 percent from the current 26 percent systems loss or Php 32.5 million in power losses.

The APEC will also upgrade its existing power sub-stations and distribution lines by substituting new equipment and clearing barriers in various distribution lines.

“The inventory indicates that almost 90 percent of the coop’s equipment is old and dilapidated,” Marchan said.

He said billing and collection systems will be enhanced by setting up 11 Bayad Centers in the 15 towns and three cities of the province.

“The centers will improve the current collection backlog,” the APEC official added.

Marchan said the cooperative’s current collection efficiency is only 50 percent, claiming that its monthly power bill payable is placed at Php 200 million while it can only collect Php 100 million.

He noted that Php18-million collectibles from the Barangay Power Associations in the third district of the province remains uncollected while a military detachment in the province has outstanding power bills for over two decades now.

Department of Energy data showed that Aleco’s financial losses started in 1995 due to collection inefficiency that amounted to Php2.4-billion.

In 2012 alone, this amounted to Php478 million.

The DOE estimated that financial losses due to systems loss amounted to Php1.9 billion and in 2012 alone, this amounted to Php240 million.

In the campaign against power pilferage, Marchan said 3,500 new electric meters have been installed while another 15,000 meters are scheduled to be set up in March in households with defective meters.

To further improve the delivery of service, it reorganized the whole personnel force where out of the 504 employees, 225 or 44 percent were re-hired and the rest were either retired or given their separation pay. (by Mar S. Arguelles, PNA/FPV/FGS/MSA/CBD/utb)

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