By Joey Natividad
IRIGA CITY, Camarines Sur, 01Oct2013 (BicolToday.com) – Electricity was cut-off in this city and the surrounding towns Monday night after the energy provider decided to deny them power for failure to pay their dues.
CASURECO III, the power cooperative in the Rinconada district of Camarines Sur, failed to pay the balance of PhP44M, the district’s power consumption last month.
There is no word from the power cooperative this Tuesday if it can pay up San Miguel Energy Corporation (SMEC), the power provider, its obligations. If it failed to cough up payment, Rinconada will be powerless this night, and the next succeeding days, rendering inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of people.
This Tuesday morning, a source in the Local Government of Iriga City informed this online news group that LGU officials, Congressman Sal Fortuno and others will have a meeting on how to pay up the PhP 44 million balance.
Business losses, lost man-hours, under-productivity and unearned income are difficult to quantify. Hospital patients hooked up by medical gadgets, such as respirators, are in danger if the generator used might conk out over extended hours.
Failure to pay SMEC may give the firm the opportunity to take-over the cooperative through a semblance of public bidding, in concert with intensive lobbying and public relations (PR) work. More profits and corporate greed are the driving force for cooperative take-overs, said cause-oriented consumers.
Many consumer-activists fear that the local power cooperative might be gobbled up by big power firms as part of their secret long-term agenda to take-over power cooperatives nationwide, thus monopolizing the energy industry.
This already happened in Albay Electri c Cooperative (ALECO) when it was privatized and taken over by SMEC last month.
Sources in this city said SMEC-owned ALECO is adjacent to Rinconada district, and once CASURECO lll is privatized, the two local electric firms will be finally integrated, easy to manage and cost-effective. [BicolToday.com]