Monday, June 25, 2007

Consumer Activism!

As I listened to tv and radio reports regarding alleged irregularities in the local electric cooperative, at the back of my mind was a shrill voice screaming: DO SOMETHING! I wonder if this is also felt by other consumers. I am suddenly overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness which this service providers have engendered into their constituents!

But before I go storming that sprawling complex in Del Rosario, Naga City, I opted to be a little bit more rational and calm at this point. Thus let us discuss the predicament with a semblance of human intelligence.

Local electric cooperatives it seems are but the tip of the iceberg. They are in fact minute part of this complex industrial complex called the energy sector. And just recently, this sector has been rocked by the passage of EPIRA law. The law intended to, among others, "rationalize" the energy sector in the country. Players in this sector were clustered into the generation, transmission, and distribution companies. The electric cooperatives figured prominently in the third. At present, these electric cooperatives are under the control and supervision of the NEA.

Thus, as I raged on the alleged shenanigans in the electric cooperative, I realize that there are bigger battles for the consumers. It doesnt end with the poor cooperatives. It included huge, even multinational, corporations. Policy reforms must be pursued. Directions should be plotted.

But to do so would entail organizing and mobilizing the consumers. At this point, the consumers are literally divided and vulnerable to vested interests. Therefore, the challenge for raising the level of consumer involvement and awareness on these matters.

Its turning out then that the alleged shenanigans in the local electric cooperative can be a turning point for consumer activism. In a society characterized by prevalent indifference and cynicism, it becomes a compelling reason to get involved. And to get organized.

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