APEC and Mt. Mayon, the tale of two volcanoes

Legazpi diocese Bishop Joel Zamudio Baylon, one of the strong proponents for the privatization of ALECO, an opportunity grabbed by San Miguel Energy Corporation to incorporate the Albay Power Energy Corporation after it (SMEC) won the bidding which sidetracked the will of the consumers and employees of the cooperative.

Indeed, with the alarming upheaval in the belly of beguiling Mayon Volcano, another one is letting out a steam of its own.

It would seem to confirm that Albay is home to two volcanoes that both pose threat to health and normal economic life of the province.

We are referring to the power provider Albay Power and Energy Corporation that was “forced-managed” to rise from the ashes of ALECO.

The latest buzz from disgruntled consumers come from the religious sector. Catholic priests in the Legazpi diocese numbering about 45, in an open letter, are said to have assailed the anti-poor prioritization of reconnection to marginal consumers who has been without electric service after the recent typhoon Glenda.

Joining the chorus are members of the local business community who has described the power supply in Albay as dismal and frustrating.

Even Monsignor Ramon Tronqued of St. Raphael de Arcangel parish and vicar general of the Diocese described APEC’s power service as “inefficient to the maximum.”

Tronqued is the first signatory of the open letter which called the attention of Albay governor Joey Sarte Salceda, one of the major proponents of the electric coop privatization.

There should be cause for concern as according to the ALECO employees association, a mere 30 per cent of the consumers have been restored of the power supply.

But while it is taking long to normalize its service, the management is being assailed for the alleged implementation of selective power reconnection per consumer. Those with records of unpaid or outstanding electric bills face the sanction of no reconnection until bills are fully paid.

Proponents of the open letter cautioned that some priests were not able to grab the opportunity in signing the letter but given the chance will affix their signature, too, even as the sentiment in the note was not the official stand nor endorsed by the diocese.

It must be recalled that Bishop Joel Baylon, together with Salceda and other local government officials, were the convenors for the ALECO privatization which caused the termination of hundreds of coop employees in exchange for the promise of San Miguel Energy Corporation of a better service despite their inexperience in running an electric cooperative.

In some areas where distribution lines were restored with power, consumer themselves reconnected the service on their own initiative which expose them to danger of electrocution.

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