MABALACAT CITY – The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and its local partner ComsTech is finally taking over the management and operations of the beleaguered Pampanga Electric Cooperative II (Pelco II) which supplies electricity to four towns and this city.
“We are pumping some P1.2 billion for the takeover of Pelco II whose debt amounts to as much,” said Dennis Uy, president and chief executive offi cer of Angeles City-based Coms-Tech.
Uy said the takeover starts this June, adding that this development was perceived by MerUy alco Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan as part of his legacy to his fellow Kapampangans. Pangilinan was born in Apalit, Pampanga.
With a bid of P1.2 billion, Meralco and Coms-Tech won the bidding for the investment and management contract (IMC) over Pelco II as authorized by the National Electrification Administration (NEA). The IMC lasts 20 years, Uy said.
“Pelco II will still own the cooperative, but Meralco and ConsTech will manage and operate it under IMC,” Uy explained, noting the contract also provided that Meralco and his firm also assume responsibility over the cooperative’s liabilities.
Apart from this city with a population of about 300,000, Pelco II also distributes power to the towns of Guagua, Bacolor, Sta. Rita, Lubao, and Porac.
A survey conducted among its consumers indicated widespread dissatisfaction with their electric service, amid allegations of questionable bills. “Among the things we plan to do is to adopt a system to make sure that those who read electric meters really do,and not merely guess,” said Uy.
He also assured the availability of retirement funds for long-time Pelco II workers who had long wanted to retire but could not do so because of lack funds. He also noted that Pelco II’s workforce is bloated with 500 personnel, despite estimates it would work efficiently with only 150.
“All those who will have to go should, however, be given the proper benefits,” he added. In December last year, Pelco II board members adopted a resolution issued by the NEA inviting “all interested and qualified parties to participate in the bidding for providing investments and the management of assets, operations, business and liabilities of Pelco II.”