Probe sought on Batelec II issues

By Lyka Manalo

TALISAY, Batangas - Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the Senate will investigate on issues being raised by a group of businessmen and consumers of Batangas Electric Cooperative (Batelec) II, which serves two cities and 15 municipalities in the province.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel) Senate President Vicente Sotto III

Sotto was in Batangas for the recent launching of Power Watch Movement which was initiated by Batangas Forum for Development and Good Governance Inc. (Batangas Forum) at Club Balai Isabel in this town.

Power Watch Movement is prodding the government to investigate several complaints and issues, such as the supposed unexplained and excessive charges per kilowatt used, system loss and other charges unknown to the consumers, accumulated looses, poor service and power interruptions, among others.

A copy of the manifesto for the improvement of electric power services was presented by Batangas Forum Chairman Paquito Lirio to Sotto.

The manifesto is appealing to Congress to conduct a joint Congressional power investigation to review and evaluate the performance of Batelec II in relation to the objectives set forth by RA 9136 known as Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

“I will forward the manifesto that they gave me to the Committee on Energy which is headed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian” Sotto said.

Sotto said he learned that Batelec’s franchise was granted by NEA for the period of 50 years while Congress usually gives a term of 25 years.

A copy of manifesto was also handed to Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog, Dennis Hernandez who assured that it will be forwarded to the President.

Batelec II distributes electricity to the cities of Tanauan; Lipa; and municipalities of Rosario, Lobo, Padre Garcia, Mabini, Tingloy, Alitagtag, Cuenca, Mataas na Kahoy, Talisay, Taysan, Laurel, Malvar, Balete, San Juan and San Jose.

Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas is backing the initiative of Power Watch Movement.

In an official statement, BATELEC II has clarified every issues raised in the manifesto taking  its stand that the cooperative is not financially unsustainable because of the alleged mismanagement.

“BATELEC II is financially stronger and more stable than ever. We categorically deny any mismanagement by the Board of Directors and officers and we welcome everybody to verify our claim. BATELEC II’s accomplishments and awards speak for themselves. After all we cannot attain all those accomplishments if we are just a bunch of fools and crooked people running the cooperative” the statement read.