Blackout in Albay town over P32 million unpaid bills

Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — Rapu-Rapu town in Albay was plunged into darkness yesterday after the Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC) and National Power Corp. shut down generator sets supplying electricity to households on the island.

Lesley Capus, head of APEC’s institutional relations and customer affairs department, confirmed that diesel-fed generators sets were shut down at around noon over unpaid bills of the consumers amounting to P32 million.

Capus said APEC had earlier asked Rapu-Rapu consumers to settle at least P15 million of their outstanding bills until Friday to defer the shutdown.

“We conclude with a sad note that the only amount we received on the last day of our pitch-in collection efforts... is a measly P178,434.50. Only 65 customers took seriously the challenge to settle their arrearages. The total amount we collected since Monday was only P3.108 million,” Capus said.

He said only 658 of the 1,700 registered power consumers, including barangay associations, paid their bills either fully or partially.

“We can no longer sustain paying P2 million per month for the electricity supply consumed by our customers that they miserably failed to pay accordingly,”APEC said.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, said the affected residents are expected to use generators or solar panels for their electricity needs.

Mayflor Jumamil, spokesperson for the Department of Education in Bicol, said they would consult partner agencies for interventions.

“Something must be done because this power shutdown would be affecting the online classes of students in Rapu-Rapu,” Jumamil told The STAR.

Rapu-Rapu has 36 public elementary and seven high schools.

The island has a population of 37,000.

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