The City Council of Puerto Princesa City passed a resolution requesting the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) to not impose surcharges and penalties to the member-consumers who are affected by the sudden and sharp increase in electric bill for the month of August 2021.
Resolution Number 1387-2021 titled “A resolution earnestly requesting the management and board of directors of PALECO to exercise utmost clemency and refrain from imposing surcharges and penalties on the delayed meter reading for its affected consumer-members, which resulted in the sharp increase of their August 2021 electric utility bill” was authored by City Councilor Gregorio Roy Ventura.
During its regular session on September 13, 2021, City Councilor Ventura said that it was PALECO’s failure why it happened.
“Ang problema po madam presiding officer yung budget ng bawat tahanan na hanggang doon lang sila sa 32 days lang ang kaniya nilang bayaran,” he added.
PALECO Finance Services Head Leah Sandoval explained that one of the reasons was lack of manpower.
“Hindi po kami binigyan ng pagkakataon na bigyan ng additional personnel para po sa meter reading dahil po under po kami ngayon ng reorganization. So, hopefully this month magkaroon kami ng reorganization kaya parang pinending muna ng aming AGM (Acting General Manager) and paghire po ng additional personnel for this,” she said.
She also stated that they have 17 plantilla meter readers but only 12 actual meter reader and no job order. However, they already requested additional meter readers.
Aside from this, some meter readers faced difficulties while using their new meter reading device that was bought last July 2021 and encoded the data wrongly.
Meanwhile, Sandoval explained that only one-fourth or 10,000 member-consumers are affected by the sudden increase for the month of August and it is expected that it will decrease on the September electric bill.
When asked what was the action of the PALECO to solved the problem, Sandoval said that the management had no advice.
City Councilor Elgin Robert Damasco was dismayed when Sandoval said that if the members-consumers want to adjust their bills, they can go to their office to address their concerns.
“‘Yun ang problema. Papaano ‘yung mga taong may trabaho na wala ng time magpunta diyan sainyo? Okay, T.Y na lang ‘yun. Eh hindi naman ito problema ng mga member-consumer eh. Binibigyan pa natin sila ng problema ng time na pumunta diyan para lang ayusin ang problema na ginawa ninyo. Napaka-unfair po yan sa mga member-consumer. Kapag tumawag naman sila sainyo [para] magtanong, ‘di naman ninyo sinasagot ‘yung mga hotline ninyo, hindi nasasagot,” he said.
Most of the members of the council expressed their dismay because the invitation was snubbed by the AGM and BODs of the electric cooperative.
The city council has again extended an invitation to the high-ranking officials of PALECO in their next regular session.