Kidapawan faces power outage-A A +A
Saturday, August 31, 2013
DAVAO CITY –- City-owned properties may plunge into darkness if the City Government fails to settle its unpaid power bills that ballooned to some P8 million.
City Mayor Joseph Evangelista said he received last week the notice of disconnection from Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco), the province's electric service provider.
The City Government of Kidapawan is given until September 15 to settle its unpaid electric bills or suffer a power disconnection.
"There was no payment made during those times that the City Government should have paid its obligations," the mayor said, when asked why the unpaid electricity bills swelled to such amount.
Of the P8 million, some P5.5 million came from the street lights and the rest from the government-owned buildings that the City Government failed to settle since 2011, said Cotelco general manager Godofredo Homez.
Last week, Cotelco already disconnected the electricity of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) building and the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) hall.
Homez said the City Government has at least 20 accounts, many of which came from the street lamp posts, outposts, police station, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) hall, motor pool, and other offices.
"The City Government, in the past, usually skipped paying the electric bills. The city LGU sometimes paid only one month even if their bills are for three to four months," Homez said.
A member of the City Council said the payment of electric bills was not a priority of the City Mayor’s Office then.
“It was not prioritized by the past administration. The SP cannot approve something, which was not submitted to the legislative council,” said the staff, whose identity was withheld.
Evangelista has ordered an “inventory mapping” of all street lights in the city.
He said the City Government was billed P700 per street lamp post every month, even if some of the lights are not working, adding the City Government pays Cotelco every month some P600,000 for the street lights.
"But still, the city's main thoroughfares are dark," the mayor said.
Evangelista, who assumed post as city mayor in July, said he just inherited the huge debt.
He said he already sought help from the City Council and assured a supplemental budget to pay part of the liabilities will be released before the September 15 deadline.
On July 31, the entire province of Albay plunged into darkness after the national power grid operator cut off supply, because of accumulated debt of $93 million. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 01, 2013.