Press Release
March 9, 2022

Poe: Cheaper, better electricity services a must to spur inclusive growth

Sen. Grace Poe said improving electricity services in far-flung areas of Mindanao and lowering their rates could pave the way for more investments and businesses into the island.

The Senate committee on public services deliberated Wednesday (March 9) a House bill seeking to expand the franchise area of electricity distribution firm Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC).

"For the past five years, the demand for power in the entire Mindanao island is peaking, which can be attributed to its growing economy. However, the power supply remains at a level that cannot keep up with the massive infrastructure and industry developments across the region," the committee chairperson said.

"Frequent power outages and high power rates discourage more investments and businesses to come in," Poe pointed out.

For the Davao region, the lack of electricity also meant the lack of water supply, she added.

Poe said the hearing was conducted in response to the clamor for cheaper and better electricity service in some areas in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro.

At present, DLPC supplies power for Davao City, as well as for Panabo City, and the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.

House Bill No. 10554 seeks to expand the distribution utility's services to Tagum City, the Island Garden City of Samal, Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro and Talaingod in Davao del Norte and Maco in Davao de Oro.

During the hearing, local government officials and representatives expressed support for the expansion of DLPC's services in their areas, saying their constituents have long suffered from "massive brownouts" and high cost of electricity rates.

On the other hand, the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative Inc. (Nordeco), which currently serves the areas eyed for the franchise expansion, opposed the bill.

Among others, Nordeco cited Republic Act No. 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act which states that existing franchises must be allowed their full term.

Poe said, however, that the law does not preclude Congress from granting franchises to another distribution utility.

Still, she emphasized that she was not taking sides and was only after ensuring better services for Davao region residents.

"The role of Congress is to make sure that those granted a franchise are capable of providing the service that subscribers and the clients deserve, which is uninterrupted power in this case," Poe said.

The senator ordered a technical working group to further discuss the bill before it can be tackled in plenary.

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