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ZAMECO II - Before and After the Transition

The Zambales Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO) was established in June 30, 1972 by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) under Presidential Decree No. 269. After Twelve (12) years of operation, the cooperative was divided into Two (2) Independent Institutions namely: Zambales I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO I) covering the areas of Botolan up to Santa Cruz: and Zambales II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO II) which covers its Franchise Areas from Subic all the way to Cabangan. In October 14, 1984, this cooperative was organized as one of the Two Electric Cooperatives in the Province of Zambales by virtue of Republic Act No. 6038 as mended by Presidential Decree No. 269.

With the enactment of RA 9136, otherwise known as the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001” (EPIRA), into law and the effectivity of its Implementing Rules and Regulations, ZAMECO II, together with other Electric Cooperatives in the country, is now gearing up towards its grand vision called “GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS”.

In the year 1984 until 1986, we were classified as Category-C level equivalent to a Medium Cooperative, on which this perhaps an effect from the division into Two independent institutions. Since then the cooperative was classified as medium coop until 1999. In the year 2000, ZAMECO II was classified as Large Cooperative due to its fast growing number of consumers and the expansion of lines up to date to meet its customary demands.

Proud to say we have been a consistent awardee as one of the Best Electric Cooperatives in the Region from 1987 to 1991. It achieved its highest classification as Category-A by the year 1989 and maintained it until 1990. On June 1991, the coop was greatly affected by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo which almost damaged all its power lines and other facilities.  The closing of the United States Naval Communications Center in San Antonio, considered to be its biggest consumer, further aggravated this. As a result, the coop retrenched 72 out of its 180 employees to minimize expenses, continued operations and saved the utility into bankruptcy. Unfortunately, these awards and status were not maintained in the succeeding years, thus ZAMECO II struggled to improve its operations and asked for assistance from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to finance its rehabilitation brought about by Mt. Pinatubo’s aftermath.

In April of 2003, ZAMECO II became a prompt payer to the National Power Corporation (NPC) and was able to pay its Php9M arrears with the power bill payment, company expenses were reduced and the cooperative was able to acquire equipment to support its maintenance of lines. A thrust on efficiency and effectiveness of employees were addressed. While its clientele increased, the number of employees servicing them decreased. A customer ratio of 187 to 1 was increased to 330 to 1 in a span of six years. In 2006 the cooperative was able to break again in the A Category from that of an E. In 2007, it became an A+ cooperative with a special award for collection efficiency. Today, the cooperative is on its 3rd year of maintaining an A+ status and is determined to maintain such status as we go on with the operation.

The cooperative was also awarded as Best in Collection Performance in 2007 and Special Award or LUMINA Award on that same year too. ZAMECO II is doing its very best from maintaining its Category A+ ranking as well as on its 3rd. rank among Region III Electric Cooperatives.

Our main thrust right now is to be able to compete with other Electric Service Providers and power players, not only in the country but around the world specifically in the Asia-Pacific region.  ZAMECO II have always wanted to visualize its Vision to be a light distributor for life, while its primary Mission is to come up as an Electric Distribution Utility which will provide quality SERVICES for its consumers’ satisfaction.

Some of our coop’s Goals are the upgrading of its Distribution Systems, totally comply with the Philippine Distribution Code and Philippine Grid Code, to attain single digit System Loss, achieve and maintain 98% Collection Efficiency, as well as to foresee its advance payment to loans. To render fast and reliable service and reduce customer complaints are some of ZAMECOP II’s corporate philosophy. As we institute a reliable and credible Electric Cooperative, possessing core values like Leadership, Industriousness/Integrity, Generosity, Honesty, Trustworthy, and Solidarity, or simply L-I-G-H-T-S, will be our main guidance to pursue what everyone have ever wanted to be in excellence. We would like to stress out that the coop is aspiring to become administratively centralized and pursue a decentralized operation which exemplifies strategically business oriented ZAMECO II.

But as they say, things in this world are not permanent except change. Sometime in 2008, the former Board of Directors of the cooperative, led by then BOD President Jose Dominguez, were removed from office based on NEA’s Audit Findings and other anomalous practices which were perpetuated in the performance of the former Board’s duties. The said scenario was initiated on 2002 by the Members of Castillejos Consumers Association, Inc. (CASCONA) headed by then Mr. Dominador Gallardo, as well as with the support coming from the Mayors of Subic to Cabangan. While the case of ZAMECO II was pending in the Supreme Court, Member-Consumers filed a resolution creating members of an Interim Board of Directors and urging an immediate conduct of Special District Elections so as not to disrupt the operations of the cooperative.  It was October 28, 2008 when the Mass Action of Member-Consumers was done outside the coop’s premises and immediately NEA sent its representatives to look into the situation

In connection to this, Mayors from Subic to Cabangan and majority Consumers of ZAMECO II staged a Six day rally to support the ousting of the former Board, the coop itself, and so with the newly formed Interim Board of Directors. Members of the Interim Board took their Oath of Office before then Governor Amor Deloso. These members were: Ryan Gonzales of Subic, Dominador Gallarardo of Castillejos, Antonio Escobar of San Marcelino, Leo Lonzanida from San Antonio, Armando Alcones of San Narciso, Delfin Francia of San Felipe, and Joe Marie Jamili from the District of Cabangan. NEA Administrator Edita Bueno at the same time confirmed the designation of Engr. Alvin M. Farrales as then Interim General Manager. Former Castillejos Mayor Wilma Billman once even said the registration of ZAMECO II from the Cooperative Development Authority was illegal, for which this was one of the arguments in the higher court.

A Special District Election was scheduled on February 07, 2009 in all Franchise Areas of ZAMECO II but was intervened when the coop received two Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO), one for the District of San Antonio only issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 70 of Iba, Zambales, and the other for all Districts of the coop which was issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 72 of Olongapo City. The said suspension of election was pushed through on November 20, 2010 with the following winners: Danilo Fontelera of Subic-B, Ernesto Bonilla of Subic-A, Dominador Gallardo of Castillejos, Manuel Rodriguez from San Marcelino, Leo Lonzanida of San Antonio, Eduardo Navarro of San Narciso, Lyndon Rosete of San Felipe, and Arnulfo Llagas Sr. from Cabangan.

October of 2009 was etched in the minds of ZAMECO II Employees, Members of the Interim Board, and so with its supportive Member-Consumers when the cooperative was in deep turmoil. It was said so because of attempted forcible take-over of the ZAMECO II facilities and handling of operations of the former Board of Directors initiated by the former General Manager basing on the issue of the coop’s registration with the Cooperative Development Authority.

A lot of concerned persons witnessed how the coop suffered much with a lot of threats and inhuman deeds which really hampered its operation. The former BOD and some of their coop employee sympathizers sought the help of CDA officials and the Philippine National Police officials to be more effective from occupying the coop premises which is their prime objective to succeed what should be
executed. But even when ZAMECO II was tested with these kinds of struggles, still majority of the employees gave their fullest patience and determination to defend the coop from its intruders as well as to protect the interest of the many, which is ZAMECO II, not just for the selected ones only but for the many.

But prior to this, an Annual General Membership Assembly was held in San Antonio, Zambales last September 19, 2009 at the San Antonio Youth Complex wherein Five Board Resolutions were passed and unanimously approved aside from the General Manager’s report on the Coop’s operational status, and so with the amendment of some By-Laws of ZAMECO II.   Another Membership assembly again took place last November of 2010 at Subic Sports Complex in Subic, Zambales already with the newly elected Board of Directors as one of the event’s participants.

Going back to the just concluded District Election of ZAMECO II, the former Interim Board and in cooperation of the Management of the cooperative planned out and immediately formed Taskforce Sanitation. The primary objective of it is to conduct a speedy and more accurate sanitation of Member-Consumers’ Masterlist in reference to the point of argument on the impending election. On March 16, 2009 a first option was made which is the Mobilization Program by means of outsourcing individuals. Due to the low turn out of the said sanitation, Meter Readers and other Field Personnel from the coop were encouraged to replace and take charge of the Mobilization Program adopting better plans and strategies through house-to-house procedures. But the turn out was not that far from the first, the Interim Board headed by Director Gallardo, came up with the recommendation of hiring Enumerators to do the program. Procedures and guidelines to be adopted were at the same time revised in order to have a more effective cleansing of Masterlist. The result was much better compared to the latter that is why the ZAMECO II 2010 Election was called a success.

At this very moment, WE are now in the midst of stability evidently based on the coop’s financial and technical aspects respectively. In fact, members of the Board of Directors and the present Management are doing everything from identifying and correcting every possible hindrance with ZAMECO II’s operation from rendering quality service to its consumers.  We have been doing the necessary remedies to facilitate our legitimate members’ satisfaction needs. Many programs and activities have already been imparted to our beneficiaries, and a lot more are into process for a better and more efficient Electric Cooperative.

Public hearings were conducted in the Main Office of ZAMECO II to settle whatever the process may bring to settle future tribulations that our coop might encounter. Surely, if these hearings won’t be executed, orderliness in management of the coop as well as its implementing rules will obviously delay its operations. An Expository Hearing on Contract for the Supply of Electric Energy was held in March 19, 2010. A Public Consultation on this was at the same time conducted with the title of “In The Matter Of The Application For The Approval Of The Contract For The Supply Of Electric Energy Between Masinloc Power Partners, Company, Limited and Zambales II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO II) With Prayer For Provisional Authority”. 

Aside from that, another Expository Presentation was held in the Main Office of the coop last September 22, 2010 which was of course conducted by Energy Regulatory Commission Personnel. The said event was referred to as ERC Case No. 2009-126RC entitled “In The Matter Of the Application for Approval of an Adjustment in Rates under the Rules for Setting Electric Cooperatives’ Wheeling Rates (RSEC-WR), With Prayer for Provisional Authority” and “In the Matter of Application for the Rules of Setting Electric Cooperatives Tariff Glide Path Pursuant to Article VII of the RSEC-WR”.  This is to come up with the right settlement of implementing the new rates for categorical consumers of the cooperative.

Based on Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, the Energy Regulatory Commission passed and approved resolution No. 23 Series of 2010which the commission approved and adopted the rules implementing the Senior Citizens Discounts to qualified Senior Citizens End-Users. ZAMECO II executed different types of information campaigns to properly advise the concerned about this coop’s program.

All Collection and Sub-Offices of the coop have been posted with information materials to let each and every consumer especially those that were long disconnected to be aware of our on going amnesty to condone those whose electric service connection were year-long disconnected. Primarily, its goal is to achieve a more efficient collection on power bills in order for us to give better services to the masses.

Power interruption notices as well as disconnection schedules for every franchise area of ZAMECO II is regularly met for the people to be informed and be prepared incase these bustles are done. These notices are regularly conducted through the use of roving Public Address System, posting of written notices in all coop offices, and any other alternative procedures. This makes a well maintained communication also between ZAMECO II and its consumers, having an established harmonious relationship between the two. Aside from these, all Contact Information have been advertised also in all offices of the coop for a faster information gathering on the consumer’s electric service concerns.

Year 2011, the year when Zambales II Electric Cooperative, Inc. started from identifying and analyzing its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a deregulated and highly competitive power industry. Reorganizing the coop’s old into a new structure aims to meet the objectives of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act in terms of improving efficiency and reducing cost and to ensure accountability of management and staff. Part of the said restructuring the coop is the implementation of mechanics particularly the creation of committee which will spearhead all efforts and initiatives that will lead to a new Table of Organization for ZAMECOII. Such creation of the said committee shall illustrate the workflow of each activity in all departments to identify and eliminate redundant functions.

At present, the Management and Staff, together with the Members of the Board, hereby thank all the Member-Consumers for being so understanding with some of the coop’s shortcoming from servicing their needs and resolving their complaints. This is to eagerly establish a more harmonious relationship and develop a Better ZAMECO II.

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