The electric power of the Province of Albay was disconnected today, July 30, at 12:00 noon as the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) for failing to pay at least P3.4 billion in debts to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., and the Wholesale Electricity Stock Market (WESM).
Albay has been in constant threat of electric power disconnection for Aleco’s debts which continually balloon despite the efforts of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), a government agency that is managing Aleco. It was only today that the disconnection materialized. According to Aleco in a letter to consumers, “[t}he request for disconnection was made by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) after Aleco failed to settle its outstanding liabilities to the WESM”.
Aleco, however, claimed that it is doing its best to raise the necessary funds to pay its debts. These include intensifying its collection efforts and running after customers suspected of pilferage. In November last year, for instance, Aleco’s anti-pilferage drive included the apprehension of at least seven big load users which included among others the Pepperland Hotel owned by the family of Second District Congressman Al Francis Bichara; Hotel Casablanca owned and managed by the Lee family; and, Defedbac Corporation owned by Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Christopher Co.