The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has directed Visayan Electric Company (VECO) to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the alleged rampant extortion from its contractors or volunteers.
“The number of incidents reported to the Commission which involved either VECO contractors or volunteers or both allegedly extorting money from VECO’s consumers to expedite the restoration of their electricity is alarming and needs the immediate appropriate action by VECO,” ERC chairperson and chief executive officer Agnes Devanadera said.
“Thus, we have directed VECO to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the matter and submit the result to the Commission in writing within fifteen (15) days from receipt of our directive,” Devanadera said. Alena Mae S. Flores
The ERC also directed VECO to include in its report the actions taken against those involved, if any, and the measures put in place to prevent extortion from being committed.
VECO was also instructed to expedite the restoration of electricity in its franchise area and inform ERC and its consumers of the progress of its restoration, including the challenges encountered.
ERC received reports through various platforms, notably from social media, that the delay in restoring electricity in Cebu is not due to the damaged distribution lines but due to the alleged rampant bribery and corruption of some people who prioritize the restoration of electricity of those who offer money.
VECO earlier said it is taking the allegations of extortion seriously and people who will be proven to have done such illegal actions will be penalized accordingly.
The company said it does not warrant the quality of the wirings, equipment, or materials used in these unauthorized electricity connections.