Lanao, Maguindanao power coops to settle debts with PSALM

By Noralyn A. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The electric cooperatives in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao have pledged to settle mounting debts in billions with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

The NEA, in a report published recently by a national daily, confirmed that the Lanao del Sur Cooperative (Lasureco) leadership met with the PSALM officialdom on June 8 along with local government officials to discuss its payments in arrears so far accounted at P12.9 billion.

NEA Administrator Emmanuel P. Juaneza said Lasureco will submit to PSALM a letter of commitment outlining its payment plans, and that he would ask the NEA Board of Administrators about possible financial assistance that may be extended to the cooperative.

The same report said Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto-Adiong, Jr. had also asked PSALM to defer its June 8 order to disconnect power supply in Lasureco.

Previous local news reports said Marawi Regional Trial Court Judge Wenida Papandayan, on petition of Lasureco General Manager Nurjiana Ducol, issued a 72-hour temporary restraining order on the disconnection bid.

“Governor Adiong also committed to discussing with the mayors of (his) province how they can help Lasureco pay its obligation to PSALM, and asked PSALM for three months to carry this out,” the NEA said.

Lanao del Sur officialdom would call for another meeting with PSALM, Lasureco, NEA, and Department of Energy, among others, to come up with a resolution of issues discussed in the June 8 meeting, the NEA report said.

In a separate statement, meanwhile, the NEA announced that the Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Magelco) had likewise committed to restructure its arrears with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

The NEA confirmed that outgoing Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto T. Mangudadatu, ostensibly interceding for wife, Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu, batted for improvement Magelco’s services as a prerequisite to the restructuring, adding that the financial program needs to be further developed.

Magelco has over P3.8 billion worth of unsettled payables at the end of April. It has settled only P45.5 million of the P147.2-million power bills for the December 2021 to April 2022 period, the NEA said.

It may be recalled that PSALM had announced to disconnect electric supply in Magelco on June 13. But as of June 10, the NEA said the NGCP deferred the disconnection after receiving the proposal submitted by Magelco. (NAM)

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