The Regional Task Force XII for COVID 19 – Economy Response Cluster virtual meeting on October 16, 2020.

KORONADAL CITY – The Regional Task Force XII for COVID 19 – Economy Response Cluster convened virtually on October 16, 2020, for its 10th Meeting to discuss power-related issues amidst this prevailing health crisis.

NEDA 12 Regional Director Teresita Socorro Ramos, chair of the RTF XII on COVID-19 ERC, said that the “frequent power interruptions or outages, the alleged overcharging and high rate of electric fees or bills, and the possible connection of coastal municipalities under the missionary electrification to the Mindanao Grid, were among the major problems and concerns to be discussed by the Cluster”.

Director Nilo Geroche of DOE- Mindanao Cluster 3, reported around 400 power interruption incidents in Region 12, from July 1 to September 30, 2020, which according to him, were caused by vegetation, wildlife electrocution, transient fault, system failure, external/uncontrollable factors, and scheduled line maintenance. 

Electric cooperatives (ECs) informed that line maintenance is being scheduled on weekends to avoid disruption of online classes and other major economic activities in the area. ECs likewise explained that electricity fees or charges follow the standard cost or energy charges that are the same across all ECs in the region. 

Six electric cooperatives distribute power in the region, namely;

Electric CooperativesArea of Coverage
1.  Cotabato Light and Power Company (CLPC)Cotabato City
2.  Cotabato Electric Cooperative (COTELCO)Cotabato Province
3. COTELCO-Pikit, Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan (COTELCO-PPALMA)Cotabato Province-PPALMA
4.  South Cotabato Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO) ISouth Cotabato
5.  SOCOTECO IIGeneral Santos City and Sarangani Province
6.  SUKELCOSultan Kudarat Province

The Cluster passed key resolutions addressing energy issues that include the request for RTF XII on COVID-19 and RIATF XII-EID to enjoin the LGUs, through the provincial governors, to assist the distribution utilities (DUs) and NGCP in their effort to clear power lines from possible sources of power line faults or any obstruction; enjoining ECs to maintain safe and reliable facilities; and the request for LGU General Santos City to expedite the preventive maintenance work for the SOCOTECO II substations. 

Also, to apprise the Cluster members on the on-going Tacurong-Kalamansig transmission project, NGCP was requested to provide a copy of the profile and status of the project.

In the succeeding meeting of the RTF XII for COVID-19 ERC, updates on the implementation of the National Broadband Program in the region shall be discussed by the DICT Mindanao Cluster 3.  (Evie A. Cabulanan, NEDAXII-DRD).