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MAASIN CITY (PIA) -- The local power utility, Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (SOLECO), has gone an extra mile for its consumers to cushion the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Odette, offering ways to lighten the payment of electricity bills.

The move was meant to counter loud complaints on supposedly high cost of electric consumption at times when there was no power yet.

In a press conference at SOLECO main office on Friday, April 1, SOLECO officials took turns explaining the rather unusual situation where transmission cost had to be shared by a few household consumers whose houses were lighted when electric current resumed, mostly starting in the first week of January 2022.

“Our power rate was affected by the typhoon,” Engr. Jonathan Empeno, SOLECO general manager, said while showing comparative graphics on screen where power bill in December 2021 cost P13.1297 per kwh, P17.0085 per kwh in February, and in P15.2954 per kwh in March.

Another factor for the hike was the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict which shot the pump price of gasoline.

To mitigate the situation, there will be no surcharges for the December, February, and March billing upon payment as SOLECO's way of understanding and sharing the plight of affected and hard-hit consumers, Empeno reported.

Aside from that, consumers can opt for a staggered payment for these bills and, what’s more, SOLECO vowed there will be no disconnection for unpaid dues until the month of May.

Meanwhile, as of April 1, out of 503 barangays under SOLECO area coverage, 334 were already re-energized, and the town of Silago and San Juan were fully re-energized. (LDL/MMP/PIA-Southern Leyte)