LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday directed the Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) to temporarily lift its power shutdown on the island town of Rapu-Rapu and allow thousands of delinquent consumers to settle at least PHP15 million of their PHP32-million unpaid bills.
Lesley Capus, head of APEC’s institutional relations and customer support department, in an interview, said electricity would be restored any time after electricians from the National Power Corporations (NPC) complete their power sequencing procedures for standard maintenance and safety checks of the two diesel-fed generators and power lines at the Batan Island and Rapu-Rapu town proper.
DOE Undersecretary Emmanuel Juaneza, in a memorandum issued on Monday, asked the APEC, NPC, and the National Electrification Administration to immediately restore power in Rapu-Rapu.
Capus said in response to the DOE directive, the firm would restore the power but only for a period of 48 hours or two days while a resolution is being worked out with the DOE and the delinquent consumers for a workable solution and find ways to settle the arrearages.
If no consensus for a payment arrangement is reached and signed at the end of 48 hours, APEC will be constrained to request NPC to again cut off the power in the island town.
Capus, addressing the delinquent consumers, said, “We urge you to cooperate and maximize this new consideration provided by APEC to settle your arrears fully within the mentioned grace period.”
Last Saturday, APEC asked NPC to shut off the power supply in the main island of Rapu-Rapu and Batan Island after 1,700 delinquent power consumers failed to pay a minimum of PHP15 million out of the PHP32-million power bill that the residents had not been paying since 2014.
Capus said the consumers were only able to raise PHP3 million or only 2 percent of the total amount of debt during a four-day pitch in the collection period given by the power distribution firm.
APEC is paying PHP2 million a month to NPC for providing diesel-fed power to the town even if the energy consumers had not been paying their bills. (PNA)