Power cut-off looms in Iriga City, 6 towns
IRIGA CITY—Some 87,000 consumers in this city and six towns in Camarines Sur province are bracing for a power cut-off as the electric cooperative struggles to meet the Feb. 9 deadline to pay P113.7 million in debt to a private power producer.
Camarines Sur 3 Electric Cooperative (Casureco 3) had accumulated the unpaid amount to San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC) for the last quarter of 2014, its officer in charge, Fernando Turiano, said on Friday.
SMEC supplies 90 percent of the Casureco 3’s power needs. The cooperative buys 10 percent from the wholesale electricity spot market.
The bulk or 96 percent of the cooperative’s clients are households in Iriga and the towns of Baao, Balatan, Buhi, Bato, Bula and Nabua, Turiano said. The rest are business establishments, local government units and other big consumers, he added.
Casureco 3 was trying to negotiate with SMEC for a staggered basis on which to meet its total deficiency of P113,675,202.53 for October, November and December last year, he said, pointing out that that it “has no capacity” to pay in full on Feb. 9.
The delay in payment, he said, resulted from the lack of subsidy from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for the restoration of lines destroyed by Typhoon “Glenda,” which hit the Bicol region on July 16, 2014.
In December 2013, SMEC cut off power supply to Casureco 3 for one week for failure to pay its bills, then totaling P144 million.
Power was restored after the Department of Energy, the NEA and the local government units stepped in to resolve the crisis. Casureco 3 signed a contract with SMEC to pay P3 million per day until all of its debts are paid.
The NEA also provided a P50 million loan to Casureco 3 so it can pay part of its loan. At that time, the cooperative had an outstanding debt of over P700 million to National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and the NEA.
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