Daily brownouts in Zamboanga City to end soon

Published May 7, 2019, 3:54 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Nonoy Lacson 

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) has agreed to continuously supply electricity to the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) for the next 60 days after Zamcelco promised to pay the power-generating firm P220 million in arrears.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco

The agreement was reached in a recent hearing at the Energy Regulatory Commission wherein WMPC agreed to supply Zamcelco with electricity after the cooperative followed Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco’s suggestion for the utility firm to pay its overdue account with the power supplier.

WMPC cut off electricity in February after Zamcelco refused to pay some P460 million in overdue account.

Zamcelco, now under the management of Crown Investments Holdings, Inc. and Desco Inc., countered WMPC’s demand, and accused the power supplier of overbilling the cooperative since 2015 by as much as P440 million.

Zamcelco agreed to pay an initial amount of P220 million to WMPC in return for fresh supply of electricity for 60 days to Zamboanga City, Climaco said.

Last Friday, May 3, Zamcelco and WMPC inked the compromise deal, with Crown Investment Holdings representative Jomar Castillo saying: “We have been trying to settle with WMPC for three months now. We are glad that WMPC finally accepted this compromise. With this, we can stop rotational brownouts and stabilize electricity in the city.”

For his the part WMPC Joseph Nocos, vice president for business development, said: “We are glad to restore power and normalcy to Zamboanga City.”

However, the compromise deal was only a temporary measure to address the power outages in Zamboanga City pending a legal dispute that has already been filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Nocos said that, in signing the compromise agreement, “we reaffirm our commitment to be Zamboanga’s partner for growth in the long term.”

“As the new investor-manager, we are looking out for Zamboangueños after years of mismanagement of the city’s power co-op. Zamboangueños were made to pay more than what they should have. We want to return their money to them,” Castillo said,