100 firms owe Aleco P15M in electric bills

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Power consumers opposes privatization of Albay Electric Cooperative. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Power consumers opposes privatization of Albay Electric Cooperative. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 2 (PNA)– At least 100 delinquent big-load power consumers in Albay owe the Albay Electric Cooperative about P15 million in back accounts, an Aleco official said Friday.

Hazel Morallos, Aleco spokesperson, said these 100 delinquent power users in Albay account for a total of P14,618,762 in Aleco’s collectibles from heavy electric consumers last year.

Morallos, however, refused to give the names of even just a few of the 100 delinquent load users, claiming confidentiality of the list.

Quoting a financial report, she said the second district – which is composed of the towns of Rapu-Rapu, Manito, Daraga and Camalig and this city — has the biggest payable, amounting to P6.5 million.

Of this amount, P1.8 million is collectible from a commercial establishment.

In this connection, the LCC-Liberty Commercial Center vehemently denied reports allegedly coming from some “irresponsible persons” that it is among the top 100 delinquent big-load consumers of Aleco.

On the contrary, the LCC claimed that it has always been up-to-date in its payments to Aleco as may be attested by the present Aleco management itself.

“For the public’s information, LCC has already paid its latest billings amounting to about P6.7 million in response to the call of Aleco to all member-consumers to already advance their payments in order to raise the remaining amount being required by PEMC (Philippine Electricity Market Corp.) to stop disconnection and/or effect immediate reconnection of power to Albay,” LCC Corporate Affairs and Legal Services Manager Guada Espinas categorically said in statement emailed to the PNA on Friday.

A total of P4.1 million collectibles from private commercial establishments in the towns Tiwi, Malilipot, Malinao, Bacacay, and Sto. Domingo and Tabaco City in the first district.

Commercial establishments in six towns and Ligao City in the third district of Albay owed Aleco a total of P3.9 million for the power consumed last year.

A local government unit, which Morallos refused to name, top the list of delinquent load users, with P648,000 unsettled account.

The submission of the list of delinquent big-load users was the primary condition asked by Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla before allowing the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) to restore power in Albay, which it cut Tuesday noon and restored at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Another group of power consumers that owed Aleco much is the Barangay Power Association, which has a total outstanding payable of P19.4 million for the power consumed by 20,000 households in remote villages in Albay.

A BAPA financial report showed that 15,000 households in the third district of Albay owe the cooperative some P18 million, while households in remote villages in the second and first districts account for P1 million of Aleco’s collectibles.

BAPA was organized to boost the rural electrification program of the government designed to provide electricity in the remote villages in the countryside.

At present, there are 200 BAPA units organized in the remote villages of the 15 towns and three cities of the province.

As this developed, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Jr. (LP, 1st District, Albay), blamed politics to be behind Aleco’s financial problems, saying “a top local politician has politicized Aleco, leading to mismanagement and financial woes.”

In a phone interview, Lagman, however, declined to name the top local politician he is referring to.

He asked for an inquiry into the national government- appropriated P600 million for the rehabilitation of Aleco in 2007, after the onslaught of Typhoon “Reming” in November 2006.(PNA)

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