Acquisition of modular gensets in Surigao blocked

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 May) – Some members-consumers of the Surigao del Norte del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SURNECO) have blocked the acquisition of five units of modular generator sets by filing a temporary restraining order at a local court.

Four petitioners filed an “Injunction with Prayer for Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order” at the Regional Trial Court Branch 29 Friday last week.

The complainants are Jaime E. Jamil of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Norte (NAMASUN); Leonila C. Yu, representative of Urban Poor Association known as Kadamay in Barangay Washington; Edgar Canda, representing the militant group Bayan Muna; and Carlito E. Argente, representing the labor sector. All of them are consumer-members of the electric utility.

Based on the seven-page complaint, they alleged that the P200-million planned purchase of five units of diesel-fed modular generating sets with two megawatts of power each will only result in further untold hardships of the member-consumers, and likely to create more of an undue burden than relief.

They alleged that management did not consult the general membership.

Furthermore, the petitioners claimed that the generating sets are highly overpriced as discussed by a technical expert, Engr. Robert A. Lozada.

SURNECO, which has 59,470 consumer-members, has no technical capability, experience, and expertise in generating its own power, the petitioners claimed.

“It’s mind boggling and indeed a source of wonder why SURNECO still insists in pursuing this mad rush of purchasing five modular generating sets when the 10MW deficiency has already been covered by the Power Supply Agreement with Nickel Asia Corporation,” they said.

Nickel Asia is said to expand its business to include a power plant, to be functional starting December 2014.

Lawyer Alfonso S. Casurra, lawyer of the petitioners, said that by then, the generating units would become “useless non-performing assets.”

Engr. Narcisco I. Caliao Jr., general manager of SURNECO, told MindaNews that they are willing to answer the petition in court.

He said they are doing their best to ease the consumers from rotating brownouts which would stretch up to six hours.

He added that if the petitioners will succeed in their court petition, electric consumers in Surigao City and in the 11 municipalities under SURNECO’s service will suffer long brownouts.