LEGAZPI CITY: A boycott move against San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC), which took over the management and operation of the cash-strapped Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco), is gaining ground as consumers here complained of insufficient power supply.
Aleco’s privatization was pushed by the National Electrification Administration and supported by Albay lawmakers and local officials with Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda as the leading major player.
Six months after SMEC acquired Aleco, more than 230,000 consumers claimed that electricity problem was getting worse and the off-and-on power supply already cost unbearable damages to appliances.
SMEC also changed Aleco to Albay Power Energy Corp (Apec), with Allan Marzan as general manager.
Last week, the Albay Chamber of Commerce Inc. (ACCI) passed a resolution condemning SMEC’s poor power service despite boasting of financial abundance.
“Six months in total operation control is enough to prove its worth as SMEC had promised,” said ACCI president Saturnino Velasco.
The resolution also urged consumers to boycott payment in electricity bills until such time the promised power service is finally realized.
Albay suffered two weeks of outage late last month after three units of 10-MV transformer simultaneously collapsed. Salceda said the transformers were already 30-years-old.
“He said that in a few days SMEC would be able to fix the problem as promised but not after two weeks of consumers great sufferings amid the ongoing heat wave,” lamented businessman Henry Buban, an officer of ACCI.
But Salceda defended Apec saying the collapse of the three transformers happened under Aleco.
Consumers complained of the unusual high monthly billings they have been receiving, the latest for April and May which increased to 300 percent.