LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 9 --- The Albay Power Energy Corporation (APEC) is closely checking some 90,000 houses with either defective meters or illegal power connection across the province, a ranking company official said today.

Ed Piamonte, APEC branch manager, said they have launched a power clean-up drive to address electricity pilferage issues that give rise to multi-million in financial losses.

Piamonte said they have recently formed Task Force Clean-up aimed to address various electricity problems confronting the power firm operations.

Piamonte, in a media briefing, said power pilferages, defective power meters and illegal connections are among the major concerns that the task force is currently addressing.

He said the task force would also address the problem on the frequent brownout cause by bad weather, vegetation affecting transmission lines, defective insulators, transformers and old distribution lines.

The task force would conduct inventory and inspection to 90,000 households suspected to have defective meters, illegal connections including outstanding power bills.

He said the group has completed its inventory and inspection to some 43,000 household with defective meters in the third district of the province covering the towns of Polangui, Libon, Pioduran, Jovellar, Oas. Guinobatan and Ligao City.

The group caught 41 electricity consumers with illegal power connection. The pilferage accounts for 50,000 kilowatt hours and is equivalent to P950,000 recovery losses, Piamonte claimed.

Clean-up drive started yesterday in the second district of the province covering 12,000 households in the towns of Daraga, Manito, Rapu-rapu and this city.

Next to be inventoried and undergo inspection are 35,000 households in the towns of Sto Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao, Tiwi and Tabaco City in the first of Albay.

While APEC collection efficiency has improved by 90 percent, the firm is still saddled with a high system power losses with 25 percent as compared to the allowable 13 percent, according to Piamonte.

Meanwhile, APEC, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to allow them to borrow from SMC Holdings P1.8 billion to finance or infuse their capital expenditure (Capex).

The Capex is intended for power improvement, repair and rehabilitation, according to Patria Gutierrez APEC spokesperson.

Once the ERC gives the green light to APEC, the firm will have to consult with the Board of Directors of the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco).

And once the Aleco Board approves financial plan, it would hold a series of public hearing with close to 200,000 electricity consumers across the province, Gutierrez said

APEC took control over the operation of the financial strapped Aleco in 2014 after it entered into a management contract with the electric cooperative for 25 years. (Mar S. Arguelles/PNA)