Bicol militants hit impending Albay blackout and power hike

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LEGAZPI CITY. The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bikol (BAYAN-BIkol) hit the impending provincial blackout because the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is set to cut off power supply to the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) on Sunday for the latter’s failure to settle its outstanding electricity bills with the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) amounting to P982 million.

According to Tessa Lopez, public information officer of BAYAN-Bikol, “this should not have happened at all if the Aleco is a real electric cooperative, with Albayanos that are really concerned in serving the majority are the ones running it. It is high time that it be converted into a genuine cooperative,”

“The current provincial power crisis should also not be used by proponents of the privatization of Aleco to push their agenda. As it is Albay Governor Joey Salceda is saying that they can apply for a loan but it would mean a higher power rate in the province of about P1.63. The recovery charge of P1.63 would be added to the regular rate of P7.56 that the electric cooperative is now charging its consumers. But even if Aleco is saying that the resulting P9.19 per kwh is still the lowest in the country, we are against it. Besides, the one to give a loan is the Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc. which may just be a prelude to the coop’s privatization or buy out of the Aboitiz Company. It is very dubious and something smells fishy about this blackmail deal,,” she said.

“First and foremost is that Albay is a primary source of power in the Luzon grid why can we not use our own natural energy resources to have cheaper and reliable electricity. In fact it can even supply the whole region. Second, a full blown investigation by Congress should also look into why Aleco is so heavily indebted considering that its service is very dismal to say the least. Third and most importantly why should it be always the consumers who bear the burden due to mismanagement? The ones responsible for this crisis must be held accountable as soon as possible,” added the militant leader.

“Even if they say that the increase is very minimal, this will be another problem for the already suffering Albayano, who is at the second poorest region in Luzon as well as the “tambay” capital of the country. We will hold protest actions and petitions to stop this blackmail deal. The provincial government should be the one to carry the burden and not the people,” ended Lopez. (BICOLTODAY.com)

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