Latest Stories

Ecija town suffers anew from power cut; residents fume

By ,

CABANATUAN CITY—As soon as the clock struck noon on Monday, Gerardo Sator, a former employee of the local government of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, knew his soft drinks business in the town would be dead for an indefinite period.

“This is the time my small business should be earning. But who drinks warm soft drinks?” Sator said as he expressed dismay over the financial woes of the Pantabangan Municipal Electric System (Pames).

He said the widespread power outage on Monday was “very unfortunate” in a town that hosts two big taxpaying companies, such as Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project, and First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FGHPC).

FGHPC, which owns and operates the Pantabangan-Masiway Hydroelectric Complex, cut off power supply to the local government-run Pames over its alleged failure “to keep its account current, having incurred unpaid power bills from July 2012 to December 2012 amounting to P8,762,405.58.”

Pantabangan Councilor Teodora Agustin said residents of the town were angry due to the power cutoff.

Deeper reason

In a text message to the Inquirer, Mayor Romeo Borja Sr. confirmed the power disconnection on Monday.

“They cut off the power supply in Pantabangan but there is a deeper reason and it is not only about Pames’ obligation to them. They returned the check that we paid them on Friday,” he said in Filipino.

He declined to give additional information. “I’ll talk about this issue tomorrow (Tuesday) because I’ll be talking to First Gen tomorrow.”

Earlier, Borja said his administration never stopped looking for a solution to the problem that the town government was facing long before he assumed the mayoral post.

It was the second time since July last year that power was cut off in the town under Borja’s leadership, amid a restructuring agreement between the local government and the FGHPC that was forged on March 16, 2012.

FGHPC first cut off supply to the town on July 23 last year due to Pames’ outstanding obligations of P80 million. Electricity was restored on Aug. 2 after a series of negotiations among the power generation firm, the provincial government and the town government under the guidance of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Outstanding debt

FGHPC said Pames had a total outstanding debt of P52,264,222.75, which the latter incurred after entering into an agreement for the settlement of the obligation in August last year during the first power cutoff.

In a statement, it said Pames had paid only P28 million of its P80-million debt by offsetting the real property taxes that the FGHPC was supposed to pay the town government for the hydropower facility.

“We have been trying to hold off on the decision to cut off the power supply to Pames but we cannot afford to delay this action anymore, as we also have a responsibility to keep our operations viable, considering that FGHPC also supplies power to two other electric cooperatives, a government agency and an industrial customer,” the company said.

The firm asked residents of Pantabangan to understand its decision. With a report from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Energy , News , power industry , power outage , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace