Lagman calls for immediate action as large Albay areas face power disconnection

Published May 16, 2021, 2:11 PM

by Ben Rosario

Communities in Albay face actual and projected disconnection of electric service reportedly due to huge delinquencies in payment of electric bills and rampant pilferage through illegal connections.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman called for immediate action on the problem as he proposed immediate and long-term solutions.

“Local Government Units (LGUs) and government agencies must pay immediately their unpaid accounts which are sizeable,” Lagman proposed.

He said commercial and industrial establishments should update their payments.

“Those with illegal connections must avail of the one-month amnesty offered by the Albay Power Agency Corporation (APEC) of holding in abeyance their prosecution if they immediately remove their illegal connections and legitimize their consumption,” the independent solon said.

He lamented that deliquency is also high even among residential and private consumers, saying that they must likewise fully pay their unpaid bills.

Lagman also called for the condonation of interests and penalties for consumers who will cooperate by paying soonest their bills.

“There must be a review of the viability and integrity of the Barangay Power Association (BAPA),” Lagman proposed.

He added: ” There must be an assurance that all regular and good-paying consumers are spared from a community-wide disconnection.” The Albay solon said unpaid bills should not be allowed to balloon “because it is harder to collect when the amount of the delinquency becomes huge.” “Although APEC is not expected to subsidize delinquency and pilferage, it must moderate with compassion its enforcement policies, particularly for the marginalized and disadvantaged,” Lagman said, referring to the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives.

“It is also urged that the APEC must have a continuing dialogue with local government executives, heads of regionalized national agencies, business leaders, representatives of residential associations, and officials of the Department of Education and the Department of Health whose operations will be gravely affected by the cutting off of electric service,” stated Lagman.