Governance, News

ALECO wants to oust APEC thru court action

Cbanga360.Net - The Bicol Street Journal

Published         25 Nov , 2014      3:07 pm          523 views.

It’s not yet over, ’til its over. So, ALECO wants to oust APEC thru court action. Now, member-consumers of the Albay Electric Cooperative have asked the court to stop the San Miguel Corp.’s Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMC Global) from exercising control and jurisdiction over the cooperative.

In a 68-page civil complaint recently filed, the cooperative wants the Regional Trial Court here to issue an injunction with prayers for temporary restraining order and temporary mandatory order against Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC), SMC Global’s subsidiary company now running the power distribution business of Aleco.

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Filed by the complaining members, Aleco is asking the court to order APEC to, among others, turn over to the cooperative through its board of directors and president, Jaime Chua, the documents needed for the initiation of court-assisted rehabilitation; and to surrender to all cash items and/or assets taken over by APEC from the cooperative.

Other demands listed in the complaint are for the court to order a complete inventory of assets taken over by APEC and for the corporation to yield to Aleco the management and control of the business, franchise and other assets of the cooperative, on phase-in/phase-out basis, with minimum service disruption, under court supervision.

The complainants are also asking the court to restrain APEC from further operating Aleco’s electricity-distribution franchise in Albay; from encumbering or disposing of any of the cooperative’s assets or properties, including after-acquired assets reckoned as of February 26, 2014; and from entering into contract with government or private entities involving Aleco or its interests.

The complaining members also want the court to prevent the corporation from applying or pursuing applications for rate adjustment with Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC); from applying or pursuing applications with the ERC to collect “under-recoveries” from members-consumers; and from further implementing power-shedding program that causes needless service interruption or regular brownouts in the province.

They further want APEC disallowed from billing or collecting from member-consumers contributions for capital expenditure or reinvestment fund (RFSC) during the pendency of the case; from using, disbursing or spending any fund or money already collected by APEC from the members; conducting meter-reading; from issuing monthly bills and collecting any amount from the members; and from doing service connection to, or doing service disconnection against its members were also requested.

Aleco legal counsel Oliver Olaybal on Monday said that considering the absence of consent on the part of the member-consumers for the lease of the franchise and the assets of Aleco, the cooperative, under its new Board of Directors, filed the complaint assailing the right of SMC Global/APEC to exercise Aleco’s corporate powers, operate its franchise and utilize its assets.

After the legal issues are resolved affecting Aleco’s entitlement to exercise its corporate functions to the exclusion of SMC Global-APEC, “we shall address the coop’s financial problems,” Chua said.

Aleco’s business operations and management were taken over by SMC Global early this year following its privatization worked out by the National Electrification Administration, Department of Energy and Albay Bishop Joel Baylon, the NEA appointed chairman of the cooperative’s interim board of director and supported by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The privatization was said to be intended to bail out the cooperative from its financial troubles amounting to around Php4 billion incurred over years of mismanagement, corruption and deep political meddling.

On long-term problem and long-term solution involving Aleco’s Php4-billion aggregate operating deficits, Chua said, the new board will address by way of filing a petition for corporate rehabilitation after the court is able to take away SMC Global-APEC from the scene.

“The court-appointed rehabilitation receiver shall prepare a rehabilitation plan, anchored on capital buildup through stock issuance, under Republic Act No. 1053 whose proceeds shall be deposited in the name of Aleco, but to be disbursed under court supervision. This means that payments to creditors on matured accounts shall be covered by court orders authorizing disbursements,” Chua said.

The court shall also issue a stay order preventing creditors from taking action against Aleco, including disconnection, he added.

APEC general manager Emmanuel Imperial on Monday declined to comment on the case as, he said, the company’s lawyers will handle it in the court. (PNA story by Danny O. Calleja)

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