(File photo)

MANILA – The upcoming Senate investigation on electric interruptions in the provinces will be broadened as previous officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), local government units, and electric cooperatives will be summoned.

In a press briefing, Senator Raffy Tulfo, chair of the Energy committee, said more electric consumers have been calling their office days after announcing that there will be a probe on lingering power failures.

He confirmed that former Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, local officials from the governor down to the mayor, and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials will be among those who will be invited to hearings.

He will require ERC officials to submit the performance evaluation of all electric cooperatives nationwide and to come up with corresponding penalties.

“That is really going to happen. Lahat ng may kinalaman, ipapatawag natin so they can shed light kung bakit di nabigyan ng solusyon ang problema. Maybe makakatulong sa kasalukuyang problema (All those involved will be summoned so they can shed light on why they failed to provide solutions to the problem. Maybe they can help solve the current problem),” Tulfo said.

He noted that in a recent short talk with officials of Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Ormeco), he noticed that they are blaming government officials.

Power interruptions, according to the senator, occurred from 10 to 12 hours while electric bills continue to rise and the salary and allowances of Ormeco officials doubled.

Tulfo said he will recommend that before the granting of power franchise by the National Electrification Administration, applicants must pass technical concerns, aside from the financial and legal requirements.

Tulfo said he will not hesitate to recommend cancellation of franchise of erring electric cooperatives. (PNA)