Monday, October 3, 2016

Disconnection looms for Albay power consumers due to poor collection
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 30 (PNA)-- Albay Power Energy Corp. (APEC) is on the verge of being disconnected from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) by December 22, this year, if fails to pay its debt of PHP1.8 billion.

APEC information officer Patricia Gutierrez said the company has only 30 percent collection efficiency.

She advised the company's 185,324 consumers to pay their bills on time avoid the inconvenience of disconnection.

Gutierrez said since APEC took over operation of the Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) on February 26, 2014, the San Miguel Global Energy Power Holdings Corp., APEC’s parent company, has been subsidizing APEC’s monthly billing from the NGCP.

San Miguel had warned APEC to increase its collection efficiency by at least 50 percent until December this year or they will stop its subsidy for the monthly bills.

Miguel Gopengco, finance head of APEC, said since San Miguel took over, it has been subsidizing APEC’s average monthly billing of PHP215 million from NGCP.

“Only 3 out of 10 or 30 percent of the total number of consumers are paying religiously which is around 55,597 of the 185,324 consumers in Albay,” said Gopengco.

He said APEC is planning to strictly implement its “one- bill policy.”

"Since APEC took over early in 2014 we have accumulated PHP1.6 billion of receivables or uncollected bills from the consumers and the remaining PHP200 million is due to the company’s system losses,” said Gopengco.

He said APEC’S arrears of PHP1.8 billion to NGCP is apart from the PHP4 billion debt of ALECO to NGCP.

Gutierez said APEC will not pay ALECO’s PHP4 billion debt because it is not their obligation to pay the loan of ALECO.

Mark Lucilo, technical head, said APEC has monthly “erratic system losses” of 25 percent due to illegal connections, defective kilowatt-hour meters and other forms of pilferages.

He said every one percent system loss is equivalent to more than a million pesos of losses.

"That is why we are visiting all the city and municipal mayors of the province and even the village chiefs to seek their assistance in helping us,” Lucilo said.

He said the local officials could encourage their constituents to pay their monthly bills on time and help APEC combat illegal connections and other pilferages to solve the system losses.

Lucilo said APEC will also implement massive changing and clustering of meters and line clearings, especially in areas full of vegetation, to reduce losses.

He expressed concern in solving APEC's poor services because majority of the consumers refuse to pay because of service problem. (PNA) FPV/GVR/JH/cbd