Some member-consumers posted their actual electric bill on social media to show the incredible amount of their electricity. (Contributed photos)

One household’s electric bill for the month of August was a whopping P165 billion. Another consumer was billed by the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) for over P293,000 for the same month.

It was evidently an error, which PALECO officials told City Councilors on Monday was due to mistakes of their meter readers learning to shift to a new Android-based meter reading device.

The problem was compounded by what PALECO said was a reduction in the number of personnel assigned as meter readers due to the pandemic, which led to an estimated 10,000 consumers being billed late with accumulated amounts.

The City Council has urged PALECO to allow consumers with accumulated bills enough time to settle their accounts, noting that the electric cooperative had been at fault.

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“Bakit hindi ninyo na-anticipate na ganito ang mangyayari sa mga billing? Apektado ang mga consumers dito lalo na ang mga hindi pa kayang magbayad,” said Councilor Roy Ventura, who called for the questioning.

“It is not fair to penalize the consumers, lalo na at kayo ang dahilan kung bakit biglang tumaas ang mga bills nila,” added Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates.

PALECO officials present during the Question Hour guaranteed that their billings would normalize this month as their meter readings are reportedly back on track.

Officials also admitted that they did not anticipate the delayed meter readings, and also have not come with a solution to assist member-consumers who are unable to pay their dues on time.

“Sa ngayon, wala pang advice ang management namin tungkol sa problema nila,” said PALECO finance services head Lea Sandoval.

PALECO earlier said they have recently shifted to a new meter reading device. Sandoval stated that they are also in the process of increasing their number of meter readers, but are unable to do now because they are in the middle of management reorganization.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.