Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao”•Agreements to ease terms of payment for consumers’ bank accounts will be put to the test as the province’s lone electric cooperative completed its upgrading program and has restored power in West Maguindanao.
Sultan Engineer Ashary Maongco, general manager of the Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (Magelco), said a P22-million rehabilitation and upgrading program has been “completed way ahead of time,” sustaining a two-week test-run since it was switched on the past two weekends.
Magelco had earlier entered into individual “restructuring agreements” (RAs) with member-consumers whose household power supply had been disconnected pending compliance with the eased payment terms under the RAs.
Consumer Mohaimin Samanudin, who spoke for the consumers in Matanog town, said he and several homeowner-power consumers signed agreements with Maongco, but added they requested for access to Magelco records for subsequent bilateral verification efforts.
Last month, some member-consumers’ organizations (MCOs) and house owners signed RAs with Magelco to ease payment terms for bills accumulated into back accounts, as shown by the cooperative’s databank.
Earlier, the cooperative management confirmed to the Manila Standard that Magelco is “heavily indebted.”
Magelco is one of 11 Mindanao-based electric cooperatives with outstanding payables for remittances of Universal Charges to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM).
Maongco appealed to MCOs for prompt payment of electric bills, as he had approved the opening of a sub-collection office in Parang town and to ease payment terms under the agreements.
“Many of our member-consumers in some municipalities are not paying, so we have formed a special Task Force to oversee the disconnection and reconnection of delinquent member-consumers. It will be of great help to us if barangay chairpersons could assist us push our campaign for a zero-backlog on electric bills collection,” Maongco said.
But of all five electric cooperatives operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Magelco is better off in terms of utilities upgrading program and consumer-area power distribution.
Maongco and Samanodin said both parties had agreed on essential points like improvement of Magelco’s services, designation of a sub-collecting office by Magelco; prompt payments of electric bills by consumers; and bilateral vigilance against proliferation of illegal connections.
Magelco had earlier cut power to hundreds of households in Sultan Mastura, Parang, Matanog and Barira towns, following a nationwide road-clearing government operation that affected its power distribution poles.
Maongco said the new Sultan Kudarat Substation is backed by 10/12 Mega Volt-Ampere for enhanced power distribution to households in West of Maguindanao. A 36-hour warm-up period ended last Wednesday from the time it was switched-on at 11:45 p.m. on November 17.
West Maguindanao, the Magelco service area earlier affected by a widespread power outage, is mainly in the municipalities of Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Parang, Matanog, and Barira.
“Please be informed that we have successfully energized our brand new 10/12.5 MVA Sultan Kudarat Power Substation at 11:45 p.m. tonight (Sunday),” Magelco said in his letter to the mayors of the five towns affected by massive blackouts, due to the systems upgrade of the electric cooperative.
Maongco said Magelco had been 11 months ahead of schedule in implementing that phase of its three-year development plan.
He said he would be the last person to want to cause darkness in Sultan Kudarat because the town and the power substation there were both named after the legendary sultan who was his great, great grandfather.
Normally, he said, the cable line, poling, and power transformer installation works, including the construction of platforms for a substation, would take up to 12 months of regular and overtime labor and prime moving machinery.
“But we only did this in one-month time, including backlogs from procurement schedules and in actual delivery of materials and works,” Maongco said.
He said the Sultan Kudarat Substation to boost power distribution in the affected towns, is equipped with “modern features and complete protective devices with new bus bar take off structures, and a control house.”
“All this, we were able to finish in just one -month time, instead of six months to one-year,” Maongco said.
“This is the second substation that Magelco has commissioned this year (2019). The first is the Rajah Silongan Kudarat (RSK) 10/ 12.5 MVA Power Substation in the Municipality of Ampatuan,” he added.
Magelco commissioned the Rajah Silongan Kudarat Power Substation to augment power distribution, so as to avoid power interruptions before the May 2019 local elections.
Lines were initially lit simultaneously in Barangay Sarmento, Parang, Barangay Simuay and Pigkalagan in Sultan Kudarat.
He said the electric cooperative had also completed its compliance with requirements set by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, which include factory-tests and field-tests.
Tests yielded positive results on the new 10 MVA power transformer, he said, adding that a “certificate of energization” will follow on the special equipment in the upgrading program.