CASURECO II Members Slam Power Hike

Resolutions issued against coop officials and increase of power rates
Monday, June 7th, 2010

Naga City (3 June) -- Outraged member-consumers of Casureco II have protested the increase in the power rates effected clandestinely by the power cooperative, and have signed resolutions contesting the said hike.

In a general assembly of members held last June 1 at the Naga City Gymnasium, an estimated 5,000 irate members unanimously approved prepared resolutions presented by Naga City Legal Officer Atty. Angel Ojastro.

Among the resolutions approved by the general assembly was one against the power rate hike imposed by the electric cooperative which the assembly deemed "illegal" and "without factual or legal basis" owing to power hike's "lack of prior consultation and explanation."

Another resolution called for the audit of the cooperative and the holding of all accountable officers liable for mismanagement. Contained in the resolution is the immediate removal from office of the officer-in-charge, Mrs. Jane Barrameda, and concerned members of the board of directors, particularly Atty. Nixon Tabora, the Board President.

The last resolution sought the "open bidding of power supply purchases" in order to achieve transparency in the procurement of contracts with third party suppliers of electricity. The resolution, in fact, addressed the issue of the present exorbitant power rates charged by Casureco II which was supposedly caused by its contract with Wholesale Electric Spot Market (WESM).

The fluctuating price of power bought from WESM was pointed out as the cause why the consumers' electric bills had doubled the previous month.

According to the resolution, "the failure of . . . CASURECO II officials to observe due diligence in entering into power supply contracts" has led to "highly irregular transactions" that are now burdening the member-consumers of the cooperative.

Meanwhile, after the general assembly, thousands of member-consumers trooped to the cooperative's main office in barangay Del Rosario, led by Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and Mayor-elect John G. Bongat to deliver a copy of the resolutions.

They were however barred from entering the compounds when the cooperative's armed guards closed the gates and refused to receive the documents.

Agitated consumers forced the gates to open, allowing other irate member-consumers to storm the main building. Barrameda, however, refused to face the crowd in the standoff which lasted until seven in the evening.

The member-consumers then aired their grievances through the glass sliding doors, calling for the resignation of Atty. Tabora and Barrameda. (Erick Lagdameo/with report from Alec Santos)