City Government, CASURECO II Trade Charges


NAGA CITY-Residents along two thoroughfares and one village in Naga City woke up Tuesday to find their streetlights turned off earlier than usual after operatives from the Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative (Casureco II) had disconnected power supply, claiming that the city government had failed to pay P30 million power consumption debt.

The general services department of the city government confirmed that Casureco II had disconnected power supply to city streetlights in Panganiban Avenue, Elias Angeles Street, and Barangay Dayangdang.

City Legal Officer Atty. Angel Ojastro said Casureco II had issued notice of disconnection but only to the villages where the streetlights were.

"It is illegal to disconnect services without notification," said Ojastro in an emergency session called by Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado, Acting City Mayor.

In the emergency session, the city council authorized Mayor Jesse Robredo to file appropriate legal action against Casureco II.

City councilor Nelson S. Legacion, former city legal officer, said the city government would charge Casureco II with breach of contract and would ask also the court to temporarily restrain the electric cooperative from disconnecting power supply to the rest of city street lights.

"The action of Casureco II was a breach of contract. The city government has a standing memorandum of agreement [with the power coop]. It took effect in March 2007."

Legacion said the memorandum explicitly stated that Casureco II could not disconnect power supply to city streetlights.

"It is stated in the agreement that Casureco II could not act on its own."

The agreement referred to by Legacion was the result of the city government's and Casureco II's supposed indebtedness to each other.

Before the agreement, Casureco II had been asking the city government to pay its power consumption debt which had ballooned to millions after years of supposed non-payment.

The city government, on the other hand, contested that Casureco II also was indebted because of its supposed nonpayment of franchise and realty taxes to the city.

Legacion said that because the amounts of supposed debts were almost the same, it was agreed upon that the supposed debts should be settled only after a panel discussion between representatives from the city government and the electric cooperative.

He said Casureco II had been asking the city government to pay dues considered by the city government as discounts.

Bordado said Casureco II should give 25 percent power consumption discount to the city government because there was an agreement between the electric cooperative and the city government during the term of Naga City Mayor Carlos G. del Castillo in 1983 that the electric cooperative would give 25 percent discount to power consumption bill generated by streetlights and other public lighting system.

He said Casureco II had failed to honor that agreement and pursued with charging the city government for all the power consumption bills generated by city streetlights.

"As a result, the amounts that should represent the discounts have become debts."

Legacion added that the city government would charge involved Casureco II executives with grave abuse of authority and discretion.

"They had acted at the expense of the welfare of the general public. They disregarded public safety."

Sought for comment, Jane Barrameda OIC-General Manager of Casureco II, said the electric cooperative had been conducting consultation with the Energy Regulatory Commission. She said he would comment on the action of the city government that is to sue the electric cooperative only after the consultation.

"We will also charge the city government with illegal detention and carnapping after the arrest and detention of our engineering staff for three hours, and after impounding our vehicles for the same period of time."

The Naga City Public Safety Office, a city government department, had impounded the vehicles used by Casureco II operatives in disconnecting power supply.

Meanwhile, the city council said it would not be assuming the power consumption bills incurred by individual villages. "The barangay is a separate entity," said councilor John Bongat. With reports from Jan Rev Davila




Your rating: None
Drupal SEO