Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Albay power provider cuts off service to mariners training school
By Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec.16 (PNA) –The Albay Power and Energy Corp., a subsidiary of the San Miguel Corp., has disconnected power supply to the Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF) here due to unpaid electricity bills for eight months since March amounting to Php2.2 million, APEC general manager Manuel Imperial said Tuesday.

The MPCF is among the proponents to boycott electric bill payment to APEC, which acquired the former Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) in January, making the power cooperative the first such entity to privatize.

The APEC disconnected the power lines of MPCF in Barangay Rawis here on Dec. 4.

But four days after the MPCF power line was disconnected, terminated employees of the Aleco, who are mostly members of the Aleco Employees Organization (Aleo), restored the school’s power line.

The APEC tried to disconnect the reconnected lines but failed.

Aleo vice president Ephraim De Vera said the terminated employees have the authority to reconnect MPCF’s power line because they have a “return to work order” (RTWO) from the Department of Labor issued last March but the APEC would not honor the RTWO and instead offered a separation pay which the concerned employees, at least 70 of them, refused to honor.

De Vera claimed that the terminated employees have not been receiving their salary for almost a year now and that the APEC has begun harassing boycotting consumers.

MPCP president Dante Jimenez, also the founding chair of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, claimed that upon receipt of disconnection notice from the APEC, he paid MPCF’s electric dues to the Aleo-reconstituted Interim board of directors (IBOD) headed by lawyer Bartolome Rayco as chairman following a constituent assembly.

Jimenez said he does not recognized the IBOD created by the National Electrification Administration in 2012 that formulated Aleco’s privatization.

The reconstituted latest IBOD, which the APEC would not recognize, was a result of the unending consumers complaints against APEC’s dismal performance, resulting in the company’s poor average collection efficiency of only 40 percent.

De Vera confirmed Jimenez’s electric bill payment made through the Aleo-backed IBOD amounting to Php2.2million.

A case has been filed by the Aleo-backed IBOD for the annulment of the Aleco privatization scheme, alleging that the acquisition of Aleco by SMC through a public bidding was a farce and was conducted through a highly manipulated constituent assembly.

Jimenez has actively joined protest rallies and legal actions led by Aleo and the Aleco Multi-Sectoral Stakeholders Organization (Amsso) against the APEC.

Late last week, he filed a case against the APEC for theft and illegal disconnection while Imperial disclosed that the APEC is readying charges against MPCF for illegal connection.(PNA) CTB/FGS/MU/CBD/