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Ormeco GM defies NEA firing

CALAPAN CITY—The National Electrification Administration has replaced the general manager of the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. or Ormeco  in the wake of its alleged failure to provide quality service despite repeated complaints from member-consumers.

NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong designated, effective Aug. 16, Orlando M. Andres as Ormeco acting GM and project supervisor in lieu of Patrocinio M. Panagsagan Jr.

Panagsagan, however, defied the order to vacate his office. Unidentified persons, backed by some Ormeco officials and employees loyal to the outgoing general manager, barricaded the cooperative’s office in Barangay Sta. Isabel, preventing Andres from assuming office.

In his office order, Masongsong directed Andres to “manage the day-to-day operations of Ormeco to ensure the efficient delivery of electric service to member-consumers” and “perform other tasks for the purpose of operational efficiency.”

Panagsagan’s non-compliance “only exacerbates the nagging power problem in Oriental Mindoro especially in Puerto Galera,” some Ormeco member-consumers told the Manila Standard, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue.

Ormeco and Panagsagan have been criticized for saying the area faces a total blackout for 300 days if generators are not installed in Puerto Galera’s Barangay San Isidro (White Beach) on time.

The National Power Corp., as grid owner, will shut down the transmission line going from Calapan City to Puerto Galera until the end of December this year to start the full rehabilitation of its 69-kv power transmission line, Panagsagan said last week.

Tourists in Puerto Galera, a major resort town, were preparing to leave while visitors who booked in advance have canceled their reservations in anticipation of the blackout.

The NEA earlier issued show cause orders to Ormeco and Palawan Electric Cooperative Inc. (Paleco) asking their respective officials why they should not be sanctioned or be hailed to the proper courts for gross negligence or gross neglect of their duties to their member-consumers.

“We need to ensure that ECs [electric cooperatives] are responsive and always on the lookout for the best interest of their consumers. In this case, we are in receipt of numerous complaints against the two cooperatives,” Masongsong said in a statement.

The NEA said other electric cooperatives found to have violated the reliability standards set by the Energy Regulatory Commission will likewise be asked to explain why they should not be administratively sanctioned.

This developed as the Mindoro Grid Corp. failed for the second time to install the required six modular generator sets in Puerto Galera.

The six-megawatt generators will temporarily energize the resort town until after Napocor has completed in December the full rehabilitation of its aging 69-kilovolt transmission lines from Calapan City to Puerto Galera.

The MGC, however, failed to mount the six generators two times in San Isidro. The shutdown was originally scheduled on August 18 and reset on August 25. 

Only four generators arrived at the site as of Friday, causing jitters among local resort operators. The generators have not been installed as of presstime.

The rehabilitation of the 41-kilometer, 69-kv transmission lines, which costs the government P338 million, has been delayed for seven months because of strong opposition from Ormeco officials.

Despite the notice to proceed, Napocor Vice President Edmundo A. Veloso, Jr. told Ormeco officials that modular gensets “shall be mobilized first before the start of the rehabilitation in order to prevent power interruption in Puerto Galera.”

Topics: National Electrification Administration , Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. , Orlando M. Andres , Patrocinio M. Panagsagan Jr.
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