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Co-op warns Kidapawan of unpaid power bills

/ 12:06 AM March 04, 2014

KIDAPAWAN CITY—The sole distributor of electricity in the entire province of North Cotabato has again warned the city government to immediately pay its accumulated debts amounting close to P6 million to prevent a cutoff of power supply this week.

Vicente Baguio, spokesperson of Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco), said their office had already sent a demand letter to the city government to settle its bills for streetlights and offices at City Hall.

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On Thursday, a massive outage hit Mindanao as major power generation facilities conked out for still unknown reasons, leading to a shortfall of over 1,200 megawatts in power.

Baguio said that while Cotelco “religiously” paid royalty tax to the city government, the latter should pay its bills “in the name of public service” in return.

Last week, the city council approved the release of P3.4 million as payment for the electric bills.

Councilor Lauro Taynan Jr., chair of the council’s committee on energy, appealed to Cotelco to consider the amount partial payment and urged the cooperative not to cut power so as not to hamper services in all City Hall offices.

Baguio said the cooperative would consider the partial payment but demanded that the city government sign a promissory note to pay the balance before the next power bill is issued.

Cotelco supplies power to Kidapawan City and 11 towns— Kabacan, Mlang, Matalam, Carmen, Banisilan, Tulunan, Makilala, Magpet, President Roxas, Antipas and Arakan.

In Cagayan de Oro City, independent power producer State Power Inc. (SPI) said it also suffered from Thursday’s massive outage even if it was not drawing power from the Mindanao grid, which is operated by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines. SPI provides about a fifth of the island’s power needs.

SPI, a subsidiary of German-firm Steag AG, said some facilities of its coal-fired plant in Misamis Oriental province suffered technical problems in its turbine generator following the outage and had not been reconnected to the grid as of Saturday.

Jerome Soldevilla, SPI communications officer, said the company’s Units 1 and 2, which can churn out 210 MW of electricity, suffered turbine generator problems and could not get back online.

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“SPI is currently conducting a thorough assessment and inspection of the units and other plant systems. Target date of the units’ restoration will be known as soon as the technical assessment and evaluation are completed,” Soldevilla said in a statement. Williamor A. Magbanua and Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: blackout, Cotabato Electric Cooperative, News, power industry, Regions
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