In Cebu, probe attached to the electrical connection racket

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VOLUNTEERS These linemen from Cotabato province are among the volunteers helping their counterparts at Visayan Electric Co., Metro Cebu’s electricity supplier, repair power lines in Cebu City that were damaged by the typhoon. “Odette” (Rai) December 16, 2021 – PHOTO COURTESY OF VISAYAN ELECTRIC CO.

CITY OF CEBU — The Cebu Provincial Government and the Electricity Distribution Company have launched separate investigations to uncover unscrupulous individuals and businesses who profited from the plight of Cebuanos which is still recovering from the onslaught of the typhoon. ” Odette “(international name: Rai).

The Visayan Electric Co. on Monday said it was investigating reports that some of its subcontractors were asking customers for money who wanted to speed up the restoration of electricity to their businesses or homes in the metro area. of Cebu, many of which have yet to be supplied with power after power lines were knocked down by the typhoon on December 16 last year.

Visayan Electric’s investigation follows an investigation that Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to open into the exorbitant cost of building materials amid high demand for local governments and residents rebuilding damaged homes.

For example, a galvanized sheet of iron for the roof that cost P400 before the typhoon was sold from P600 to P800 per sheet on Monday, according to a check carried out by the Inquirer at at least two hardware stores in Cebu City.

Priority costs

“Visayan Electric, our accredited contractors and industry partners working in our franchise area do not charge or accept re-electrification or prioritization fees. The restoration of electricity is free, ”the company said in a statement on Monday.

“Rest assured that people who are proven to have committed such illegal actions will be penalized accordingly,” he added.

Visayan Electric called on the public not to entertain or participate in any request for payment for power restoration and to report it immediately through its helpline 230-8326, or by sending a message to the Facebook page of the company.

Visayan Electric stated that the company would not be responsible for any loss or damage from unauthorized connection, as it could not guarantee the quality of the wiring, equipment or materials used in such transactions.

These unscrupulous contractors, or people or businesses paid by Visayan Electric to help the company’s linemen and volunteers with electricity restoration work, demanded P 500 to P 1,000 from each household that wanted to collect their electricity. electricity, according to sources, including some owners who admitted to paying these people.

The company called on the population to be patient as its teams were working 24 hours a day to speed up the restoration of power in Cebu.

Inordinate prices

Visayan Electric said earlier that it would take until January 31 to restore all power connections in the Cebu metropolitan area, as most of their facilities, from utility poles to power lines, were destroyed by the typhoon.

As of January 7, Visayan Electric had supplied 196,123, or 41%, of the 474,182 customers concerned in its franchise area which covers the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Naga; and the municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

To speed up the restoration, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will be sending 36 additional linemen and equipment to Cebu City this week, Mayor Michael Rama said.

Meralco, Davao Light and Power Co. (sister company of Visayan Electric) and 13 other electric utilities across the country have previously sent crews to Cebu to help restore power to the island.

Garcia, on the other hand, said she asked the DTI to investigate building supply stores that not only raised their prices, but also refused to sell their materials to the provincial government.

“They don’t seem too keen on supplying Cebu Province at prices that would certainly be lower than the galloping retail prices currently occurring in hardware and other building supply stores. [in Cebu], she said on Friday.

“I hope [Trade] Secretary Mon (Ramon) Lopez can do something about it because you know these vendors are really benefiting. The prices of GI (galvanized iron) plates currently in the retail market have really skyrocketed and are scarce because direct suppliers keep them, ”she added.

Families rebuilding their homes have also been affected by the high prices of building materials, she said.

The Cebu provincial government recently announced that it will release £ 2 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation program for families affected by Odette. INQ

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