SFELAPCO consumers asking for refund to hold prayer rally

NGCP (File Photo)
NGCP (File Photo)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- A group of power consumers here is set to hold a prayer rally to compel the San Fernando Elecric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) to comply with the recent refund order of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The consumers scheduled the prayer march on July 28, 2023, 4 PM at the Poblacion area.

The prayer rally was dubbed "Martsa at Panalangin: Isang Boses at Panalangin Para sa Pagtalima ng SFELAPCO sa Kautusan ng Energy Regulatory Commission."

It was initiated by the Alyansa ng mga Nagmamalasakit na Fernandinos to peacefully urged the power distribution utility (DU) to refund P21,600,000 and other charges collected to its consumers amounting to P654,397,381.48.

The ERC also ordered SFELAPCO to refund to consumers excess generation charges from January 2013 to December 2022 amounting to P1,769,924,493.39.

The group said the continuous refusal of the power firm to comply with the orders may result in filing of criminal charges against the DU's board of directors.

The ERC said the order is executory despite any appeal to higher courts unless an Injunction or Restraining Order is issued in accordance with Section 7827 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

SFELAPCO said "with all due respect to the ERC, we believe that the Commission misappreciated the facts of the case and hence, we will seek all available remedies accorded to us by law."

The prayer rally was decided by the consumers after the ERC decision promulgated on June 1, 2023 was received by the local officials led by Mayor Vilma Caluag in the first week of July.

Caluag said she would continue to lobby and oppose SFELAPCO's measures to avoid refunding its consumers.

“We have been in talks with multi sectoral leaders in San Fernando. May mga kausap na po ako sa Congress at hindi naman tayo titigil dahil ngayon may bala na tayo, itong ERC order na nagpapatunay na tama ang ipinaglalaban natin. Together, we will fight for a lower power rate that would benefit everyone in the city, ” she said.

City Legal Counsel Jose Elmer Teodoro asked Fernandinos and other affected consumers to be patient as the case will have to undergo due process.

"Mayor Vi will continue to fight for Fernandinos. Her sentiments and intentions are known to everybody. Kung tayong mga Fernandino ay naiinip, we should take inspiration from Mayor Vi na hindi naiinip at lumalaban siya. Nandiyan ang proceso kasi ang proseso na kailangang daanan pa. Pero ing laban ayni ene atrasan (she will not back out from this fight)," he said.

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