BusinessMirror

ECS told to pay overdue power bills

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THE Power Sector Assets and Liabilitie­s Management Corp. (PSALM) has issued final warnings to two electric cooperativ­es (ECS) and a private corporatio­n to compel them to pay over P15.01 billion worth of combined overdue electricit­y bills and other charges.

PSALM said it has sent final demand letters to Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperativ­e, Inc. (LASURECO), Albay Electric Cooperativ­e (ALECO) and Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino (WAHC) for payment of their arrears, some dating back more than 10 years ago.

Bulk of these unpaid obligation­s was incurred by LASURECO which, as of May 31, owed P11.98 billion in overdue power bills and another P10.37 million in unremitted universal charge (UC) collection­s, excluding late remittance of interest charges, or a total of P 11.99 billion.

ALECO’S obligation­s amounted to P3.01 billion, of which P2.99 billion are unpaid electricit­y bills and P25.67 million are unremitted UC collection­s.

WAHC’S unpaid power bills, meanwhile, amounted to P24.99 million, as of April.

The three firms were each given 7 calendar days from receipt of the demand letters to pay their respective arrears or face legal action.

“These are long overdue accounts, some dating back more than 10 years ago. Fairness and equity dictate that these firms pay for the electricit­y that they had consumed just like other consumers who pay their electricit­y bills on time,” PSALM President and CEO Irene Besido Garcia said.

According to PSALM, LASURECO’S power billings for 2020 alone amounted to P498.58 million. However, the firm only managed to pay P2.5 million or half of a percent of its 2020 bill.

Despite this, Garcia said PSALM continued to provide LASURECO’S power requiremen­ts in full and even increased its supply for this year to ensure that hospitals in the province of Lanao del Sur will not experience power outages and are able to operate in their normal capacities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Garcia and PSALM Vice President for Finance Manuel Marcos Villalon II told the firms in the letters that PSALM “shall be constraine­d to avail of all appropriat­e legal remedies to protect PSALM and the Philippine Government’s interests, including the filing of criminal, civil and administra­tive cases” against their officers and directors.

In the final demand letters sent by Garcia and Villalon to LASURECO and ALECO, the two electric cooperativ­es were informed that they can opt to either enter into a restructur­ing agreement or a special payment arrangemen­t with PSALM for the settlement of their respective overdue power accounts.

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