Solons want ERC to take control over electric cooperatives

January 19, 2010 10:50 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 19 — Two legislators have filed a measure seeking to transfer to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) the regulatory and supervisory powers over electric cooperatives duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

COOP NATCCO party-list Reps. Cresente Paez and Jose Ping-ay said House Bill 6984, which they authored, will allow electric cooperatives to enjoy certain benefits and privileges, among others, particularly in the upgrading or rehabilitation of the power distribution system.

Ping-ay said electric cooperatives registered with the ERC will be entitled to congressional allocations, grants, subsidies and other financial assistance for electrification which can be coursed through the Department of Energy (DOE), the Commission, and local government units (LGUs).

"The electric cooperatives can avail of the financial services and technical assistance provided by the government financial institutions and technical development agencies on terms respecting their independence as autonomous cooperatives," he said.

Ping-ay said with the enactment of Republic Act 6938, otherwise known as the Cooperative Code of the Philippines as amended by RA 9520, electric cooperatives (ECs) are given the option to register either with the CDA or with the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

For his part, Paez said the ERC was created under RA 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, as the independent regulatory body for the restructuring of the electric cooperatives.

"The ERC issues guidelines on the assumptions of the rural electrification loans of ECs by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation for the purpose of financing the rural electrification program," he said.

Under the measure, the NEA shall no longer exercise regulatory or supervisory powers over electric cooperatives duly registered with the Commission.

The bill also provides that all condoned loans, subsidies, grants and other assistance shall form part of the donated capital and funds of the electric cooperatives and, as such, shall not be sold, traded nor be divided into shareholdings at any time.

These donated capital or fund shall be valuated for the sole purpose of determining the equity participation of the members provided that in the case of dissolution of the cooperative, the donated capital shall be subject to escheat. (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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