Energy setback PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 12:00

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Cebu City —- The public and the politicians are complaining about traffic gridlock, especially at the junction of Mayor Jaldon/Sta. Maria Road and Gov. Camins Road, at peak hours of the day (5-8 p.m.) They blame it on our poor, oftentimes revised, traffic plan and the existence of  the blockbuster mall, KCC. Aha, wait for the ascendancy of SM-Mindpro and SM mall along Mayor Agan road and the Double-Dragon mall in Guiwan.

But if you think traffic in beloved Zamboanga is monstrous, try Cebu. From the ATR 70-seater Cebpac aircraft to the waiting shuttle bus, It took the pane 25 minutes to taxi. From the bus to the terminal, it took us another 25 minutes to reach the terminal as the plane had to give way to at least three incoming A-319. That’s airport traffic.

From the airport in Mactan on a white taxi (yellow cabs’ flag down rate is P70 compared to whites’ P40) to our hotel on Escario st., it took all of one hour to get there. That meant having dinner at Zubuchon at 9:00 p.m. which is not good for diabetics.

There’s just too many autos running in Cebu and Mandaue. The drivers here are more disrespectful than ours, giving no quarters to left-turning vehicles. Cebu has so many “T” intersections which are one of the causes of traffic. And, like Zamboanga, the streets here are narrow, designed by Magellan’s conquistadores. With the big ticket infrastructure program, Cebu will rise above all others in the Visayas and uncertain Mindanao in 10 years. They call it “Osmenanization.”

Supply of energy here has not been short despite the high demand of electricity to power mammoth malls, small arcades (the trend now) and big hotels and condos. Unlike Zamboanga!

While we don’t yet have a shortage of electricity in spite of the fact that pilferage of electricity is rampant that explains our 24 percent systems loss, we might experience frequent blackouts because of poor maintenance of distribution lines, old ready-to-explode transformers and defective meters.

We all know that the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative is a dying system. It has a debt of more than ONE BILLION PESOS. To resolve this crisis, Zamcelco has entered into an Investment and Management Contract (IMC) with giant Meralco. After having awarded the contract to Meralco, the modified Terms of Reference (TOR) is still pending review and approval by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) since last January.

As Zamcelco is in the process of exploiting remedies to avoid total financial collapse, NEA seems to be delaying the final approval of the IMC instead of immediately awarding Zamcelco’s management and financial control to Meralco. What may be the real reason why NEA is unnecessary delaying the approval of the TOR to make the IMC operational?

NEA and the management and board of Zamcelco met in Manila last week to iron out the kinks in the TOR. Still no result. Zamcelco has taken a bold leap to save itself, Zamboanga and the vocal industrial sector from disaster. It has broaden its vistas for cooperation with Meralco. There are no fat loans under this arrangement, only profit — something that has not been enjoyed by Zamcelco since it took over power service from City Electric.

NEA should act steadfastly on the TOR leading to the operationalization of the IMC. Zamboanga city will be turmoil again unless we wheel Zamcelco from the ICU to the recovery room, pronto! Zamcelco is incapable of relying on its resources, which it has none, to carry on as partners of the city government in economic construction.

Must El Presidente crack the whip on NEA for it to move?