City that never sleeps electric bill: P433M | Inquirer News

City that never sleeps electric bill: P433M

/ 03:11 AM September 01, 2011

Manila may be a city that never sleeps, but state auditors are scratching their heads why streetlights are on even at daytime.

At least that’s what they found last year when the state auditors examined why the city’s electricity bills ballooned to P432.73 million, 40.33 percent higher than its 2009 electric bill.

The Commission on Audit (COA) said it had observed that streetlights in most areas of the city remained on “day in and day out.”


This, the COA said, caused higher electricity charges as well as additional maintenance costs for the replacement of bulbs that got busted too soon.


Hike in electricity use

There were several other factors that contributed to the spike in electricity use, the COA pointed out.

The agency said the higher electricity consumption could also be due to the construction of two additional hospitals in Manila, which it described as a “laudable investment on health services.”

More power was also consumed because of the installation of additional lighting facilities in the city. But one unpleasant reason was the reported pilferage or illegal wiretapping of electricity, it added.

“Due to nonimplementation of cost-saving measures and nonmonitoring of consumption, the city incurred additional electricity costs which in turn resulted in the waste of funds,” the COA said.

The audit agency recommended that the Manila City engineering office and other concerned offices go after electricity thieves so that the pilferage and illegal wiretapping would not jack up the city’s power bill.


It also reminded the local government that power cost-saving measures should be implemented in all offices, hospitals and other areas under Manila’s jurisdiction.

Tax discounts

In 2009, Manila’s electricity consumption amounted to P308.36 million, while in 2008, it was P260.72 million.

The COA also questioned the city government’s grant of P40.81 million worth of tax discounts to owners of business establishments who had paid their business taxes, fees and other charges within an extension period.

The COA said the discount had no legal basis because it was not allowed in the city council resolution that extended the deadline.

During the extension period, the business owners were allowed to settle their business tax dues without penalty, surcharges or interest. But the COA said the businessmen should not have been given discounts.

The agency said the officials of the license division of the city treasurer’s office failed to review the assessments made during the extension period, which resulted in errors in the computation of tax dues.

No rest for weary

The COA also said that the license division should be directed to include the amount of unpaid business taxes in the computation of the future tax obligations of the concerned business owners to recover the discounts granted to them.

The city government reacted favorably to the COA findings, and told the agency that it would recover the uncollected income.

As for power consumption, all the engineering office could say was that in fact it has been engaged in power-saving measures in the different offices and departments, “as well as in the operation of streetlights.”

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But thieves strike in the middle of the night and during the day, stealing all the power saved.

TAGS: Manila, streetlights

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