Why Not Organize Power Consumers into Clustered Cooperatives
…and let them operate their own energy source?
By Apolinario Villalobos
If power consumers or in layman’s lingo, the users of electricity will be clustered in cooperatives, many pains in the neck will be eliminated, such as:
-inefficient local power cooperatives
-MERALCO and the grid network system
-inefficient Department of Energy
-overdependence on fossil fuels such as oil and coal
The move, aside from encouraging the development of ideas on how to harness more renewable energy resources, can also promote:
-recycling of waste that can be transformed into bio-mass
-development of cooperation among local residents
-more awareness on the need to protect nature
The following is the macro plan:
Clustering need not be difficult to initiate as it can be based on the existing barangay system. The clusters may be composed each of 10 households. Those in the province can make use of the available energy resources that can be harnessed such as rivers, waterfalls, lakes, waves from the sea, or waste from homes and business establishments. Barangays without those resources shall make use of the solar energy. Households that are located far from the center of the barangay shall be provided with individual solar energy set. Schools shall be provided with their own solar energy set.
In the city, those that are in the heart of the metropolis can make use of the solar power and the same clustering system mentioned earlier for the province shall be used. However, those near the dumpsites can make use of the waste that is being accumulated for years. As in the province, schools in the metropolitan barangays shall also be provided with their own solar energy set.
Factories shall be required to put up their own solar power facilities, before they can be permitted to operate.
Entities such as MERALCO and others that set up the web of power lines, shall be required to dismantle them immediately.
Honest-to-goodness cooperatives, with all the barangay residents as members shall operate the system. No private entity shall be allowed to take part. Privately practicing professionals in the field of energy, particularly, renewable resources may be hired if necessary, but only as Consultants.
Protection for the facilities shall be provided by the cooperatives with the assistance of the barangay units.
The initial fund for the operation shall come from the Malampaya project which shall be sustained for at least three months. Subsequent operational expenses shall come from the minimal monthly membership fee paid by the members and the subsidy from the Malampaya fund. The monthly subsidy from the Malampaya project, shall be distributed among the barangays based on their population.
The cooperatives have an option to operate as savings and loans organizations, duly incorporated so that the membership fees can be utilized in revenue generating projects such as cooperative store, handicraft production, and loans for members. The subsidy from the Malampaya fund shall not be used in the revenue generating venture as it is against the policy, hence, held and secured in a separate account.
The project shall be audited on a quarterly basis by the Commission on Audit with copies of records provided to the barangay units, as well as, municipal and city Auditors for close monitoring.