Filipino electric co-ops asked to explain apparent ‘lack of transparency’

The regulator says it could refer the matter to “other pertinent agencies for further investigation”

The Philippines’ National Electrification Administration (NEA) has issued show-cause orders asking eight electric co-ops to explain “highly irregular process” undertaken for the purchase of an aggregated power requirement totalling to 130MW.

The regulator held a meeting with the eights co-ops on 9 February during which it found that the co-ops’ Joint Third Party Bids and Awards Committee had earlier declared two failed biddings on 14 June 2022 and 9 December 2022. According to NEA, the bidders were found short of the requirements as prescribed under its Terms of Reference (TOR).

However, the regulator claims the co-ops continued to conduct to direct negotiations with these bidders and later issued a Notice of Award for the implementation of the project, failing to inform NEA of the development.

NEA administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda has asked the co-ops’ officers to “show cause why they should not be found administratively liable for having violated the pertinent laws, rules and regulations on the proper conduct and transparency for the procurement and awarding of the project”.

The regulator said that it would refer the matter to “other pertinent agencies for further investigation”, should ground exist.

The eight co-ops involved are: Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, La Union Electric Cooperative, Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative, Benguet Electric Cooperative, Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative, Mountain Province Electric Cooperative, and Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative.

Two of the co-ops were contacted for comments.