LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 10 (PNA) — The San Miguel Corp.-owned Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC) shut down the power connection in five municipalities and one city of Albay as a result of an ongoing trouble between the new management, one one side, and some disgruntled consumers and former employees of the lone electric power provider in the province, on the other side.
Hazel Morallos, APEC spokesperson, said the APEC management temporarily shut down the power transformer in two sub-stations of Malinao town and in Karangahan, Tabaco City, after former employees of Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) forcibly ransacked the substation tender on Thursday morning using acetylene.
“To secure the lives of our men, we were forced to temporarily shut down the power transformer to prevent the untoward incident after our substation tender in Karangahan, Tabaco City, was forcibly ransacked by the strikers, mostly former Aleco employees, with the support of outsiders,” Morallos said.
Following the shutdown of two sub-stations in Albay, the entire first congressional district covering the towns of Sto. Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao and Tiwi and Tabaco City experienced a 24-hour power blackout, hurting the business sector and economic activities of the Albayanos.
Tiwi town is the main source of clean and renewable energy that it supplies to Luzon Grid but due to labor dispute involving the APEC management and former Aleco labor union, this town was not spared from the power crisis here.
Power was cut off at about 10:00 a.m. Thursday until Friday afternoon.
Through the intervention of six mayors of the affected local government units in first district, according to Morallos, they were able to persuade APEC general manager Manuel Imperial to allow the restoration of power supply in the area.
The San Miguel Corp. took over the ailing Aleco Inc. on Feb. 26 last year pursuant to the concession agreement between Aleco and SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.
The Aleco is saddled with almost Php 4 billion debts with antiquated sub-stations, defective meters and transformers despite of the multibillion-peso funds infused by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under the B-CARE fund to totally rehabilitate the power coop here.
But the multibillion-peso rehabilitation fund was lost to graft and corruption under the previous management.
The cooperative had been saddled by outmoded substations, transformers and other equipment — and irregularities.
After several management and reported graft and corruption cases over the power coop in Albay, the Aleco interim board of directors, under the leadership of Bishop Joel Baylon, took over the management but gave up overseeing the power coop despite reforms they had implemented.
The board had also improved the collection efficiency, lowering unnecessary and unavoidable systems loss in the operations.
The interim board, led by the prelate found out that the money supposedly used for total rehabilitation, was lost to corruption and that no total rehabilitation was done.(PNA)