APEC suffers from 146K delinquent power users

LEGAZPI CITY – The Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC) is facing difficulty in its collection efforts with some 146,000 delinquent power users out of the total of 230,000 consumers in Albay province.

This developed after APEC launched on Feb. 23 its automatic issuance of statement of accounts after meter reading, which Albay consumers claimed they were denied during APEC’s first six years of operation after taking over the bankrupt Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco).

While undergoing rehabilitation, APEC reportedly inherited a data-base, allegedly sabotaged, containing only more than 40,000 names of consumers out of more than 200,000 customers in Albay.

Patricia Guttierrez, APEC Public Affairs Office chief said APEC delinquent collectibles had already amounted to P1.4 billion.

Simultaneous with the automatic issuance of statement of account after meter reading, APEC also launched the amnesty program for delinquent accounts.

Under the defunct Aleco, unpaid two succeeding billings were required to be paid otherwise electric service would be disconnected.

Guttierrez noted that consumers flocked to APEC office and Bayad Center to pay their bills during the first week of the implementation of the automatic issuance of statement of accounts after meter reading.

This showed APEC’s consumers willingness to pay their bills on time.

However, many consumers, especially those with big back accounts were criticized APEC amnesty program. They said the initial payment required to avail the program is unaffordable. Besides, they said, their unpaid bills got accumulated because of the absence of billing, which is APEC’s fault.

Retired Legazpi City fiscal Dominador Barrameda, said APEC should be considerate in its collections involving consumers accumulated back accounts. The 30 to 50 percent required initial payment to qualify for the amnesty is too harsh, he said.

Outgoing APEC general manager Benny Banas, however, said APEC is applying the win-win scheme to collect, saying consumers are free to discuss their concerns at any APEC branches.

Banas also announced that Apolinario Alvarez will be the new APEC project director, adding that APEC Area 1, 2, and 3 offices would no longer serve as district branches but just plain service offices.