ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/3 August) – The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) has tapped the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and local police to unmask the power pilferers in this city, which cost the cooperative P2 million a month.
Jesus Castro, Zamcelco acting general manager, disclosed they have discovered that electricity pilferage is rampant in nine barangays in this city. He said, too, that three department stores in the city have been stealing electricity.
But he withheld the names of the barangays and the department stores so as not to jeopardize the conduct of investigation aimed to identify those involved.
Castro said appropriate charges will be filed against them once identified.
“They will have to be punished and made to pay the penalties,” stressed Castro, who was designated by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) since the middle of last year to handle the day-to-day operations of Zamcelco.
Castro said that Zamcelco’s debt has soared to P800 million due to rampant power pilferage, which prompted the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) to almost cut off electricity load to Zamcelco last February.
Recently, Zamcelco has hired engineers from the Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative (Zamsureco) and Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative (Zaneco) to inspect and calibrate all the electric meters of business establishments to determine whether or not they are paying the right amount based on their electricity consumption.
Castro explained he hired engineers from outside Zamboanga City to ensure impartiality. (MindaNews)