MANILA – A Senate probe will seek to find out the reasons behind the frequent power interruptions in the franchise area of Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. (OMECO).
Over 80,000 residents are reportedly affected by the province-wide blackout, particularly from the towns of Mamburao, Paluan, Sta. Cruz, and Abra de Ilog.
“The locals are complaining to me. It’s time we get to the bottom of the recurring power problem in the province,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who will file a Senate resolution to conduct a probe, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Gatchalian, still the Committee on Energy chairperson, received reports that Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corp. (OMCPC) stopped supplying electricity to OMECO after the power supply agreement between them expired.
“Kung walang kuryente, walang negosyo, walang kita ang mga tao. At kung magpapatuloy pa ito sa mga susunod na buwan, maaaring maapektuhan pati ang pagpasok sa paaralan ng mga mag-aaral (Without electricity, there will be no business, no income for the people. And if this continues in the next few months, maybe students going to school will also be affected)” said Gatchalian, who recalled his personal experience of a power interruption when he visited the province during the campaign period.
“Kung hindi mabibigyan ng solusyon ang problemang ito, mapag-iiwanan ang probinsya ng Occidental Mindoro (If this problem will not be given a solution, the province of Occidental Mindoro will be left behind)," he added.
The regular power supply in the province has resumed after the Energy Regulatory Commission provisionally approved a power supply agreement between OMECO and OMCPC.
For the past several months, residents have endured rotational brownouts for five to six hours a day because of insufficient power supply.
OMECO is the electric cooperative servicing the franchise area of Occidental Mindoro with a total of 240,887 household connections.
The same problem also hounds Oriental Mindoro, the more progressive part of the island province.
The power to grant or renew franchises for electric cooperatives and other power utilities is vested in Congress, which will base its decision on performance and consumer satisfaction, among others. (PNA)