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CAGELCO’S dilemma: Information, customer service

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Posted on its website, Cagayan Electric Cooperative 1 screams its battlecry, “we are happy to serve you.” But consumers in Tuguegarao City aren’t; unannounced power interruption has somehow taken its toll on the local economy paralyzing some of the vital services in affected areas.

But while Cagayan Electric Cooperative 1 is now on an image hot seat, it is not because of the hellish brownouts but because of the simple reason that nobody is informing anybody on power interruptions in Tuguegarao City.

Netizens have vent their ire on social media for the last few days calling the quasi-cooperative names and posting screaming invectives even dogs would love to hate to eat. As one of the most outstanding electric cooperatives in the country under its present general manager, Cagelco 1 was cited in 2012 by no less than the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for its outstanding operations performance and continuing improvements of its distribution lines to ensure quality service.

“It was rated based on its Financial, institutional and technical capabilities,” the social media page, said.

The cooperative, a rather uncomfortable and at times misleading term, started energizing the municipalities of the first, second and third districts of the province in 1975. In 1976, under the auspices of NEA, it took control of the Tuguegarao Electric Cooperative owned and operated by the Stoops and Andrews clan of the city. Tuguegarao thus became the 12th service area of Cagelco 1 after the municipalities of Alcala, Amulung, Baggao, Enrile, Iguig, Penablanca, Solana, Piat, Sto.Nino, Tuao and Rizal.

Four departments are under the General Manager which includes technical, finance, information technology and energy trading and the internal audit.

Consumers are angry because recently, power interruptions have become the rule of the day rather than the exemption in some critical business areas in town.

“ Why can’t they issue advisory so we can prepare,” a mad resident posted on social media.

During yesterday’s dialogue with Cagelco 1 management initiated by the cool and amiable Mayor Bienvenido “Ben-Ben” De Guzman, an equally cool General Manager Tito Lingan said tripping of lines are sudden and beyond the control of the service provider.

This is aside from cases of overloading and load balancing which contribute to the already worsening situation, he said.

However, on hindsight, it’s not the power interruption which forced the residents to raise hell and turned social media pages into a battle ground of written words. To the netizens, it was supposed to be a simple matter of information dissemination but because, possibly, the image builders are maybe out somewhere enjoying the beach front of Buguey or are inside the caverns of Sta. Teresita or simply scaling the giant rock formations of Taggat Lagoon in Claveria that it went out of bounds.The general manager said the issue will be dealt with accordingly if only to appease consumers on the possible information lapses.

The worse part of it all was a social media post by one of the information officers of Cagelco who, instead of providing information on the recent events, viciously attacked the consumers instead.

“Those who always complain are usually the non-members and those “nakikigamit lang” of electricity, “ the post said. It has disturbed the Hornet’s nest and the rest, they say, is self-destruction imagery.

Netizens said it was an unwelcomed posting which has been likened to a citrus juice poured into a wound. However, the previous years saw former information officers, Nenita Guzman and Sally Brilliantes as excellent mouthpieces. They are now retired.

Blame the social media but Guzman and Brilliantes never experience such bad publicity for their former agency. Their relationship with the media have been rated excellent. Meaning, the present public relations handlers of Cagelco may want to learn a lesson or two from the good ladies.

Power interruption is nothing new for Cagelco 1 or any other energy provider in the country. In fact, it comes with the territory. While people, given their penchant for comfortable living do complain, it was but normal. What peeved the social media users was the perceived arrogance of Cagelco’s information handlers, a problem Lingan said he will attend to.

However, at a time when the consumers seemed to be appeased with the assurance of management that they are into a 24/7 schedule to contain the problem, no less than Manager Lingan dropped the bombshell; a possible four to eight months sporadic power interruption.

The consumers can still bear that out. A netizen posted “konting tiis lang.” Under this scenario, the affected consumers has agreed on one thing: send Cagelco’s PR staff to work.

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