Ceneco apologizes for power disruption at 10 public schools in Bacolod
BACOLOD CITY — The Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) apologized for the power disruption at 10 public elementary schools here on Wednesday, May 3.
“We sincerely regret the incident. To this, I humbly seek your apologies,” said Arnel Lapore, Ceneco acting general manager, in a letter to Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez on Thursday, May 4.
Ceneco disconnected the electricity at the Singcang, Mandalagan, Estefania, Luis Hervias, ABKASA, Bata, Pahanocoy, Sum-ag, Punta Taytay and Mansilingan elementary schools while classes were ongoing on Wednesday.
Lapore and other officials met with Bacolod Councilor Al Victor Espino, City Administrator Pacifico Maghari III, and Department of Education officer Elizabeth Malaga on Thursday.
“The city government pays for the electricity bills of public elementary schools,” Espino said.
Ceneco cut off the power at the 10 elementary schools because of arrears in electricity bills, part of which were unpaid during the previous city administration.
Espino said apparently, the city government and Ceneco had deficiencies in coordination on the payment of the electricity bills.
“It was as simple as lack of billing coordination. The city government will be paying its school electricity bills as early as Friday,” Espino said.
Espino said Ceneco was collecting about P19 million, but not all are current bills, as some were arrears from the previous administration.
Espino said the city government is set to release a P10 million check on Friday.
Ceneco assured that they will not cut off electricity at schools again without serving notices.
Lapore said the disconnection incident would not happen again because they established protocols for better coordination.
At the meeting, they established clear-cut procedures and point persons/offices who will be responsible for the processing and eventual payment of power bills not only of the city schools but the city billings as well, so that current power bills arrearages will be avoided.
“They were also able to establish linkages that will help monitor the progress of the payment processing,” Lapore said.
Lapore said the past city administration had P287 million in arrears to Ceneco.
“We are finding ways for this to be addressed,” he said.