The Department of Energy said yes, but the local government of Olongapo says no.
So here is the two sides, DOE Sec. Petilla said that Olongapo has incurred P4billion in electric debt with Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) and added that PSALM is ‘poised to issue’ a notice of disconnection.
Notice that I said ‘poised to issue’ meaning that as of this writing there has no confirmation the PSALMS has already issued a notice of disconnection to Olongapo.
But this does not mean that PSALM will not issue a notice of disconnection.
Just like any business there will be a last straw. No business likes to lose money on delinquent payers.
And yes, it is true that the city owes PSALM P4billion pesos, a city official has confirmed this but said that the P4billion included interest and penalties, meaning the city have not been updated on its payment.
If the city is updated on payment then why would we be charge with interest and penalties, it’s very simple, no need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.
In 2010 the city’s electric debt was at P2billion, this was denied by the local government it was like a public secret and only a few took notice of it because it was election time when it was made public.
It was the opposition in Olongapo who went public on the debt, using it as a battle cry during the 2010 election.
Its election time again however this time it was not the opposition who made the announcement, it was no less than the Secretary of the Department of Energy who revealed the not so good news to the public.
It took the city a full week to officially respond to the issue.
In the response City Administrator Ferdie Magrata said that the debt was caused by supplying power to the PNP and the schools in the city. Does this offices have no budget of electricity? these are national offices by the way under the Philippine National Police, DILG and Department of Education.
“Do we just cut off the power of these national agencies just because they can’t pay? We can’t just do that. They are providing a vital service for the community,” he said.
Magrata added that the report was part of a smear campaign to discredit Mayor James Gordon Jr.
Whatever the reason, may it be politics or non-payment from the residents, offices both local and national, jumpers or mismanagement, one thing is for sure and was admitted by officials of the city, we have P4billion unpaid electric bill and I am sure that this will increase more in the coming months.
The point is ….If my math is correct (I must warn you that im not good in math) in 2010 Olongapo had an outstanding balance of P2billion, it is now 2013, the city managed to double the balance totaling to P4billion or translate to P1billion a year.
Even if we sell or privatize PUD the debt will remain, Cepalco will still be charging us (residents) for the unpaid electric bill of the city. Why? If you were Cepalco would you pay the P4billion in behalf of Olongapo? The answer is no.
Now what Cepalco will do is get the distribution from PUD make money by charging us for their service and then charge us for the unpaid bill of Olongapo with PSALM on top of our regular electric bill (ouch).
I smiled after reading the reasoning of the city on why the debt reached P4billion.
Mayor Jame Gordon Jr. has been in office for nine (9) years, I think, 9 years is more than enough to say “hey PNP, hey Dep Ed, hey you” please pay your electric bill.
Now we will pay.