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VECO must refund excessive power collection: Ligas

CHEAPER power advocate Edward Ligas said they are waiting for the resumption of inquiry by the Cebu Provincial Board on the unreasonable and high electric billing by the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) during lockdowns caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

Ligas, a radio commentator and international boxing judge, said that in the recent Energy Committee hearing chaired by Board Member Red Duterte with Board Member Glenn Soco, VECO officials admitted several lapses in power billing that led to questionable charges.

Unfortunately, Ligas said the committee hearing was attended by VECO officials who were not decision makers of the power company. Ligas said that even business firms that were closed and had no operation during lockdowns were billed at a high amount.

Ligas fully paid his power bills for the entire 2020. If he will again receive a VECO electric bill with another excessive and unreasonable amount, he will file criminal charges against VECO officials and the Aboitiz family in a competent court.

He is amenable to the suggestion that Cebu Provincial Government or any Local Government Unit (LGU) may hire a technical team to study the VECO electric billings which are subject to complaints to determine any cover up.

Ligas is also amenable to a Senate inquiry on VECO’s operation like what it did with Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) attended by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes Devanadera.

MERALCO refunded all the excessive payments made by power consumers. “I believe that a Senate inquiry will force VECO to refund the excessive payments of power customers. I am happy that complaints against VECO are now by thousands,” Ligas said.

He suggested that if VECO management headed by President/CEO Raul Lucero and VECO owners (Aboitiz family) will ignore the complaints, the government may take over its operation to protect the interest of the public.

Ligas also said that it is now time for the government to dismantle the VECO power distribution monopoly, especially that Aboitiz is also engaged in power generation which contradicts the Energy Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). ELIAS O. BAQUERO