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The province of Palawan is facing an imminent power crisis with an impending shutdown of Delta P Inc., one of the independent power producers (IPP) supplying electricity to Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO).

In a letter dated September 12 and addressed to National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) officer in charge Atty. Melchor P. Ridumle, Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron said Delta P. Inc president Walden H. Tantuico has informed PALECO board chair Jeffrey Tan-Endriga and officer in charge Nerisa Regal through a letter of their impending cessation of operations due to non-payment of the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME).

Tantuico claims that they have not received the UCME payment since May, which now stands at P441,826,773, resulting in a “staggering amount of unpaid fuel bills.”

Because of the situation, Delta P is being required by fuel suppliers to pay cash before they can acquire fuel supply for their upcoming purchases.

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Tantuico added that if the matter is not resolved by the end of September, they will be forced to shut down.

Meanwhile, Bayron in his letter to Ridumle sought a prompt assistance from NAPOCOR to avoid the situation “by prioritizing Delta P subsidies since stopping operation will have detrimental impact on Puerto Princesa City and Palawan, leading tourist destinations in the Philippines.”

“Puerto Princesa’s tourism industry, in particular, which is hard hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic and Typhoon Odette, is just recovering and an impending power crisis is another major blow we cannot afford. In general, the social and economic costs can pose severe hardship to the City,” Bayron said.

“Your timely intervention to avert this “disaster” from happening is being sought and will be greatly appreciated by the City Government of Puerto Princesa and its people,” he added.

City Administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa said they have called for a meeting with big load consumers together with Delta P and other IPPs in the province to discuss the problem.

Pedrosa said their main concern is the increase in fuel prices that almost doubled which NAPOCOR did not expect, resulting to increase in subsidy.

“Because of this, their obligations to power providers ballooned and in turn, the power providers are now having a hard time to collect the subsidies. Naturally, mag-stop talaga ng operation yan,” Pedrosa said.

Pedrosa also said that aside from the request for intervention from NAPOCOR, the city government is also looking for other possible solutions.

“May proposal na mag-advance payment ang city government sa PALECO and then i-offset lang sa consumption. Although maliit lang yun at hindi kakayanin considering that more than P400 million yung kailangan,” Pedrosa said.

“Pangalawa, baka mamaya, hindi rin lumusot sa COA (Commission on Audit). Kasi dapat obligated lahat ng bayarin at pag ganun na hindi pa nakonsumo, baka hindi rin pwede. Pero pag-aaralan pa rin kung pwede,” he added.

He likewise said they are also seeking the assistance of other government officials in the province.

“Hinihiling din natin yung tulong ng ating mga kongresista para sila ay makagawa rin ng mga hakbangin para masolusyunan itong problemang ito,” he said.

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