Bad news for Albay electric service consumers. It is ironic that despite the upbeat mood of Albay governor Joey Salceda on the economic and business environment in the province, here comes a cloud of instability, at least in the electric power service sector.
The province of Albay and the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) braces for the prospect of a bleak week with the looming disconnect action that dangles from the National Power Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NPGCP). This is due to Aleco’s falure to pay the PHP982M outstanding electric bill with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC).
The prospect of plunging the entire province in darkness is unsettling, but at least, the cooperative has until the 11th of this month to settle the total indebtedness or face the dark consequence. Albay has a population of 1,190,823 in its three cities and fifteen towns, majority of which are dependent on electric service.
The coop board of directors are in turn negotiating for a short-term three year loan to pay for the outstanding debt.
At present coop members are charged PH7.56 per kilowatt hour. But with the availment of a loan, the consumers will be made to shoulder an additional PHP1.63 per KWH as part of the debt recovery charges from PEMC.
It is interesting to note Aleco has been haunted with financial problems for the past years due to debts from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Corp. (PSALM) amounting P1.7 billion and with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in the tune of P180 million.
Albay generates electricity thru the Tiwi geothermal plant but does it make any sense to Bicolano consumers why they get charged higher rate per kilowatt hour?