CCTO to pay 2022 electric bills of its headquarters

CCTO to pay 2022 electric bills of its headquarters
File photo

THE Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) will finally settle the electric bills of its headquarters at the North Reclamation Area for the months of August to December 2022.

The City Council approved on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, the resolution authored by City Councilor Rey Gealon charging P427,707.96 to the CCTO’s past maintenance and other operating expenses.

City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, committee on transportation chairman and member of the Traffic Management Coordination Committee (TMCC), said the bills needed to be paid immediately or else the Visayan Electric Company would cut off the electricity at the CCTO’s headquarters by Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Dec. 31, Cuenco said the City will pay Visayan Electric in the first week of January.

He said the approval of the resolution signaled the processing of the payment otherwise the money will revert to the general fund proper for 2024.

CCTO head Raquel Arce, in a letter attached to the resolution, said the account covers the operation of closed-circuit television cameras in several major intersections in the city.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, for her part, explained that the bills were not paid because during that time the City had yet to decide whether to accept the P480 million new traffic light system.

She suggested letting the supplier pay the bills, but Cuenco said the City already rescinded the contract with the new traffic light system provider and did not pay its balance “for a reason we have already discussed before.”

Last March, Mayor Michael Rama ordered a review of the City’s contract with Cylix Technologies Inc. and Triune Electronic Systems Inc., partners in a joint venture, after the TMCC rejected their assertion that their traffic light system was the most advanced in the world.

According to a report published in SunStar Cebu last May, a representative from the two companies appeared before the City Council to disclose that the City still owed half of the contract amount.

TMCC had questioned the efficacy of the 2020 Digitalized Traffic Light System Project, considering the increasing number of traffic lights that malfunctioned after these were installed.

In earlier reports, TMCC learned that the three-decade-old Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (Scats) was better in terms of speed and real-time adaptive capability to the traffic conditions on the streets.

The new system was installed in more than 40 intersections as of mid-2023, replacing the old Scats technology.

The first phase of the project covered 18 intersections on Gen. Maxilom Ave., Serging Osmeña Blvd. and Colon St., among others, at a cost of P232 million. It was completed in the last quarter of 2021.

Phase 2, which was supposed to cover 27 intersections and would have cost P248 million, was not completed.

Cuenco said that when officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) visited Cebu City last Dec. 1, they had a similar observation as the TMCC.

“They (MMDA officials) were here to make recommendations and confirmed that the system we use is really not satisfactory to our needs,” said Cuenco.

The upgrading of the traffic lights system in the city started during the time of the late mayor Edgardo Labella.


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