NEA takes over Abra power firm over debts
BAGUIO CITY — The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has taken over the power utility serving Abra province, averting a power crisis that would have left 47,700 households in 27 towns in darkness on Monday.
Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) was suspended from buying power through the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) on Jan. 31 due to unpaid fees amounting to P206.5 million, according to the Philippine Electric Market Corp.
Abreco had resorted to buying electricity from WESM after its original power generator, Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc., terminated its 2004 contract over its P50 million arrears.
Abreco consumers have been paying an average of P12 per kilowatt hour, which is higher than that charged by Manila Electric Co.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong on Friday suspended Abreco general manager, Loreto Seares Jr., and replaced him with interim manager Chito Mabitazan.
The NEA is studying how it could prevent the utility from shutting down. Records show that Abreco suffered power outages in 2012, 2013 and 2014 due to its unpaid bills. —Karlston Lapniten
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