The Claim: Electric Cooperatives are inefficient parts of the energy industry that contribute to higher power costs
The Facts: For more than 40 years now, Electric Cooperatives (ECs) play an important role in bringing electricity in households even in remote areas. ECs are private, non-stock, non-profit companies owned by their Member-Consumer-Owners.
According to the National Electrification Administration (NEA), there are 121 duly-recognized electric cooperatives in the Philippines and only 7 are considered as ailing.
In the province of Benguet, Benguet Electic Cooperative (BENECO) is recognized as having one of the cheapest electricity rates.
Why we fact-checked this: A presidential candidate should be knowledgeable on all relevant issues that he would be facing when he assumes office. Debates, interviews, and forums do not only allow voters to know their candidates better but also gauge how well these candidates know about the issues that ail this country.
On a presidential interview “Bakit Ikaw? the DZRH Presidential Job Interview” that aired on January 25, 2022, presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. emphasized that electric cooperatives are inefficient, buried in debt, and passes the cost to the consumers. The interviewer, anchorman Deo Macalma asked, “Kung kayo maging presidente, paano niyo mahih ikayat mga investors na magpunta rito. Mataas ang singil sa power, sa kuryente. Ano ang gagawin niyo?”
Mr. Marcos pointed out his views on electricity production and transmission. He explicitly stressed, “And then the system, not only of production but of transmission and distribution. Doon nagkakaproblema eh, sa mga electrical cooperative na inefficient. Nakalubog sa utang. At yung siyempre, yung kanilang service sa, yung pagservice nila ng kanilang mga utang, to service their loan, pinapasa sa consumer kaya tumataas. That’s why we have the strange situations where the source of power is in the same eh late eh. Geothermal. Nandiyan yung ano.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmIw5Tdysws 2:16:55 on the timeline]
NEA’s statement was released on January 29, saying, “Per the latest EC overall performance assessment, only seven (7) ECs out of the one hundred twenty-one (121) are considered as ailing. With the support from their MCOs, different government agencies, and other relevant organizations, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) believes that these ECs will be able to rise up and perform better in the coming years.”
NEA also pointed out that the ECs who are not performing at par to the operational parameters can be attributed to political interference, armed conflicts, cultural beliefs, difficult geographical terrain, right of way, and others. [http://www.nea.gov.ph/…/727-nea-statement-on-the…]
Many ECs around the country extended their services apart from providing electricity. BENECO, which serves the Province of Benguet and Baguio City, has been actively taking part in providing various forms of assistance to its MCOs including educational assistance for deserving beneficiaries.