LEGAZPI CITY (23-March-2012/PNA) – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has moved to March 28 the scheduled cut off of power supply to the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) for the latter’s failure to settle its outstanding electricity bills with the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) amounting to P112.6 million.
The NGCP said the extension was meant to give its direct consumers, like malls, hospitals and other big business establishments notice before disconnection of electricity in the province.
Earlier, the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) had given the local electric cooperative in Albay until March 21 to pay its outstanding obligation of P112.6 million for electricity used in the months of December and January or it would face disconnection from the power grid.
PEMC’s electricity bill to Aleco for December 2011 amounted P54 million and and P58.6 million for January this year.
Paul Lopez, acting general manager of the Aleco, said the extension was also an opportunity for the cooperative to raise funds for payment of their dues.
Last week, Aleco was able to raise P20 million as partial payment of the December bill. Lopez said Aleco would settle the remaining P34 million of the December bill by Friday.
Lopez said with Aleco’s present financial status, it would be difficult for them to raise the amount demanded by PEMC.
He, however, said that Aleco was still looking for ways to raise funds.
Aside from this, Aleco also has a combined debt of about P3.8 billion to PEMC, NGCP, National Electrification Administration and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.
Critics blamed the debt to Aleco’s high system losses at the rate of 24 to 27 percent or about P17 million a month, low collection efficiency, power pilferage, antiquated power transformers and labor cases.
Lopez said they first received a notice of disconnection from the NGCP on March 12 through a letter signed by Maria Cynthia Manrique, head of NGCP Revenue and Regulatory Affairs Office in Manila.
At noontime of March 13, the 15 towns and three cities in the province of Albay were threatened with a power cut off by PEMC over nonpayment of the account.
The power cut off however was postponed. Lopez said “the PEMC could have considered the request of Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi to postpone the disconnection.(PNA)