Mayor John Dalipe convened Thursday, Jan. 11, a dialogue among the city’s power stakeholders relative to the snowballing move of the new management of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) to enter into a joint venture with new investors.
The move was to bail out Zamcelco under its investor-manager Crown Investment Holdings Inc. from its present financial losses and incapacity to bankroll capital expenditure activities.
Former vice mayor now Zamcelco’s Chief Management Officer Atty. Rommel Agan revealed that the Board of Director has approved a resolution endorsing the investment offers of Coronet Energy Holdings Inc. and Blossom Holdings.
Agan also admitted that both investment firms are subsidiaries or “special purpose vehicle” of Crown, but he clarified that nothing has been signed yet with regard to the offers and Zamcelco’s 112,000 member-consumers or at least half of it will have the final say on the matter through a referendum.
Zamcelco is under a 25-year Investment Management Contract with Crown, which had infused around P2.5 billion funds mainly to pay old Zamcelco’s P2 billion debt.
While Zamcelco under Crown has improved in terms of its category from D to B and its system’s loss was down from 23% to 19.4% at present, Atty. Agan lamented that some provisions in the IMC prevent the new management from implementing capital expenditure projects, thus the need for new investors.
However, the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. headed by Atty. Carl Rubio and Pocholo Soliven along with other stakeholders were vocal against the investment offer for lack of transparency, among other contentious issues facing the Crown.
Soliven suggested for Mayor Dalipe to form a Technical Working Group that will be tasked primarily to study, review and scrutinize the investment offers for the information and guidance of the local government and the public in general, the member-consumers in general.
After a lengthy discussion on the matter, Dalipe adjourned the dialogue with the motion to conduct a similar caucus the soonest time possible, this time inviting representatives from the National Electrification Administration (NEA), Energy Regulatory Council (ERC)and the Department of Energy (DOE).-(Vic Larato)