Power firm disowns utility company
PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija—The firm that supplies electricity to this town has disowned a Manila-based company that claims to operate Pantabangan’s power utility.
First Gen Hydro Power Corp. advised the Pantabangan council in a letter on Thursday that it supplies electricity to the Pantabangan Municipal Electric System (Pames), but has no relationship or dealings with Kaltimex Energy Phils Inc., which supposedly manages Pames under a 25-year rehabilitation and management contract with the municipal government.
Nov. 26 deal
The town council had objected to the deal that took effect on Nov. 26 last year and held a public forum on the day First Gen sent the letter.
Mayor Romeo Borja Sr. said Kaltimex is investing P100 million to upgrade Pames, manage collections and pay all of its obligations to suppliers like First Gen.
But Richard Difuntorum, First Gen’s plant manager, said in the letter that “we are not aware of the identity or nature of the company so named Kaltimex.”
The letter was addressed to Councilors Ruperto Agdipa Sr., Vincent Uera, Teodora Agustin and Danilo Padilla. They had invited First Gen and Kaltimex to appear at the Thursday forum, but Difuntorum sent the letter to decline the invitation due to prior commitments.
“We also do not have any knowledge as to the veracity, reason or basis for the latter’s [Kaltimex] supposed involvement in the affairs of Pames … [nor did we enter] into any agreement with, or have [had] any dealings with [Kaltimex],” Difuntorum said.
Padilla, head of the Association of Barangay Captains in the town, said he received reports that people, who identified themselves as Kaltimex employees, had been disconnecting power from households that refused to become members of Kaltimex.
“They would cut connections even of those people who have been paying their bills on the grounds that they refused to sign up as members of Kaltimex,” Padilla, chair of Barangay Malbang, said.
A Kaltimex representative said that issues about its contract with Pames must be addressed to the local government.
“On your claim that Kaltimex is here in Pantabangan managing Pames without your knowledge, it would be best that you address the issue to the local executive heading the local government unit (apparently referring to Borja),” said a letter signed by Jerry Labitoria, a Kalmitex technical engineer.
He added: “It is the main objective of Kaltimex Energy Phils Inc. to improve the whole electrical system of Pantabangan … We fervently appeal to consumers to do their part and obligations for a better electric system of Pantabangan.” Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon