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April 7 - 13 (3)

By Ralph John Mijares

 

ROXAS CITY—Officials of the Capiz Electric Cooperative (Capelco) recently denied that the cooperative has the highest power rates in the country. As of March 2014, it ranks second-highest to Guimaras Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Guimelco).


This was the cooperative’s response to the position paper filed by Capiz Halaran Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dale Bernas, Roxas City Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Leny Apaitan, and Pueblo de Panay, Inc. president and chief executive officer Jose Nery Ong.


Said business leaders cited the data that Capelco had the highest total energy charge and systems loss charge per kilowatt-hour (kWh) among 80 on-grid electric cooperatives in the country, as of December 2012.


Capelco is second to Guimelco as regards the highest per kilowatt-hour rates for residential and low voltage consumers in Panay Island and Guimaras, Edgar Diaz, Capelco general manager said in a press conference April 5.


As of March 2014, Guimelco charges residential consumers P 13.4278/kWh and low-voltage users P 11.9227 (without VAT); while Capelco charges at P12.261/kWh and P 11.1125/kWh respectively (without VAT), Diaz said.


Diaz added that Capelco is the second-highest in rates for high-voltage consumers, charging P9.3254/kWh while Ileco I charges P9.3821/kWh (both without VAT).


Capelco sources power from private providers because its contract with state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM)—which provides cheaper power—expired recently, thus, having higher generation rates than most cooperatives in the area, said Diaz.


Iloilo II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ILECO II) , Iloilo III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ILECO III), and Antique Electric Cooperative (ANTECO)’s contract with the PSALM has not expired while Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO) has high sales because of the power consumption in Boracay, Diaz elaborated.


Oscar Acolentaba, Capelco’s president of the board of directors, said that those behind the position paper “do not know what they are talking about.”


Acolentaba added that they should do their research and use a 12-month period to compare power rates since it changes sometimes.


P478-M NEA Grant


The business leaders also asked Capelco to explain how the grant from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) will be used because “this will be passed on [to, thereby] borne by the consumer”.


According to Acolentaba, the grant was supposed to be P 505 million, but reduced to P 478 million after an evaluation of allowable restoration and rehabilitation jobs for Capelco’s facilities. It is subject to audit, he added.


Diaz added that Capelco received the grant intermittently. In first three instalments, they received P 30 million, another P 30 million, P 80 million, and last April  1, got P 161 million, totalling P301 million.


The grant had two conditions: Capelco should restore power to all households affected by typhoon Yolanda and ready to receive power, and not making member consumers pay the grant in the form of rate increase.


Capelco is ‘transparent’ about their financial reports and billings, said Acolentaba.


The cooperative, however, remained mum on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)'s case about the application for the sale of sub-transmission lines/assets of the National Transmission Corporation (NTC) to Capelco, as covered by an amended October 10, 2011, lease purchase agreement by the two power groups.


Acolentaba said that since the case is in court, they could not comment about it.


On possible competition


Reportedly, Capiz first district representative, Antonio del Rosario said over a local radio station that a willing investor can provide ‘better’ service than Capelco.


For his part, Acolentaba was doubtful if anyone can offer lower power rates than Capelco.


“A private company can offer better service than Capelco but when it comes to charging at lower rates, I don’t think so,” he said.

CASAC promotes organic farming

Monday, 07 April 2014 00:00

ROXAS CITY—The Capiz Archdiocesan Social Action Center (CASAC) has transformed a portion of land within the Archbishop’s residence compound in Barangay Lawaan here into an organic demo garden as part of its campaign to promote organic and integrated farming in the various communities province wide.


The 2,500-square meter area was initially laden with mud press, rice hull and vermicast.


“The once rocky land area is now teeming with organically-grown lettuce, squash, tomatoes, cucumber, ampalaya, sweet and hot pepper, upland kangkong, pechay, and watermelon,” said part of CASAC’s article posted on its social media account.


CASAC director Fr. Mark Q. Granflor said that the demo garden is intended for replication in different communities within the archdiocese.


“Or better yet, some families can adopt organic farming in their backyards,” he said, adding that “looking at a bigger, and long-term scale, these gardens can provide food for their tables, as well as livelihood for that family or community.”


CASAC has been advocating for organic farming even before supertyphoon Yolanda devastated the province last year.


The church-based initiative was further intensified in the aftermath of the supertyphoon as an opportunity to help Yolanda victims become selfsufficient and ready in times of calamities.


The Center has also partnered with the Office of Municipal Agriculturist in Mambusao town and experts from Capiz State University (CapSU) in the conduct of trainings and seminars on sustainable agriculture and livestock production.


“It is high time that we go organic farming as its produce taste better than its conventionally farm-raised counterpart. Not only are they better-tasting, their levels of anti-oxidants are higher,” Granflor said.


Research shows that organically-grown produce have lower nitrate contents than non-organic ones.


“Most importantly, we promote organic farming to preserve the culture of agriculture,” the CASAC director stressed.


The demo garden’s fresh and organic produce are also sold at the CASAC Office at the Archbishop’s Residence. (JCMAAL/PIA6 Capiz)

CAPELCO ENERGIZES ALL ON-GRID BARANGAYS

Monday, 07 April 2014 00:00

CAPELCO fulfilled its promise to energize all 452 on-grid barangays in Capiz on March 28, three days before the expected date of completion.


Before Supertyphoon Yolanda hit the province, there were 119,079 households billed by Capelco. The number was reduced to 109,530 afterwards.


But only a total of 95,151 households in the province have been energized as of April 3, said Edgar Diaz, Capelco general manager.


Of the remaining households, 9,300 were either destroyed or under repair while 5,059 are ready to be powered, Diaz said.

 

But there are a total of 473 barangays in Capiz. Diaz said that the 21 remaining barangays—composed of 14,359 households—are off-grid barangays (they do not source electricity from Capelco).


Capelco plans to finish supplying to these barangays before May 15 this year.

 

The Task Force Kapatid, a group of different electric cooperatives in the Philippines, helped restore and rehabilitate Capelco’s power lines.


The government has given Capelco P301 million out of the P478 million grant for the rehabilitation of its facilities as of April 3.