Power cut off in Iriga, CamSur towns due to unpaid bills
MANILA, Philippines – Power was cut off in Iriga City and several towns in Camarines Sur covered by the Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative (Casureco 3) at noon on Wednesday after the coop failed to pay part of the over P100 million debt owed to its supplier San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC).
In an interview on ANC, Iriga City Mayor Ronald Alfelor said negotiations with SMEC are ongoing to restore power in the areas as soon as possible.
Alfelor said around 110,000 people will be affected if power is not restored immediately.
The Department of Energy (DOE) earlier said the agency is also negotiating for more time to avoid a power outage.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said he is asking SMEC and the national grid to extend the deadline to November 4.
“Casureco management is really struggling at this time. They’re trying to increase their collection efficiency,” Petilla told ANC.
Parts of Camarines Sur also plunged into darkness on October 1, but power was restored after an agreement was reached that Casureco's debt will be paid in tranches.
“The NGCP [National Grid Corporation of the Philippines] and the power supplier are not really happy about disconnecting cooperatives. It’s counterproductive but it will be done as a last recourse, rather than as a first option and that’s where we are right now and we have to implement the last recourse which is power disconnection,” said Petilla.
Petilla said over P2 million are added each day in Casureco's electric bills, which if left unpaid would add to San Miguel's losses. -- With a report from Lois Calderon, ANC