BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Central Negros Electric Cooperative is mulling charges against those responsible for the illegal connection installed in one of their posts in Talisay City that caused the electrocution of a lineman Sunday, acting manager Dan Pondevilla said yesterday.
At about 12 a.m. on Sunday, a team was dispatched to Hacienda Santa Maria in Talisay City to act on a reported power outage, Pondevilla said.
He added that lineman Regie Austria climbed the electrical post to replace a broken electrical insulator but accidentally touched a live wire, he added.
When checked, Pondevilla said that the wire is not owned by Ceneco but was illegally connected by a nearby subdivision.
An investigation on the incident is underway, Pondevilla said, adding that he is now waiting for the final report so he could instruct their legal counsel to file necessary charges against those involved.
The Ceneco management shouldered the funeral expenses of Austria, who was regularized just last week, and will also provide financial assistance to his family.
Pondevilla again reminded the public against electric pilferage as it will not only bring loss of income to the electric cooperative but may also cause loss of life, especially of their linemen.
He urged those with illegal electrical connections to remove them as these can also trigger fires.
Pondevilla admitted that they are having a hard time apprehending individuals involved in electric pilferages as their coverage is wide. He said that those who are involved in electric pilferage remove the illegal connection in the morning and re-install it at night time when there is no more inspection.
To ensure that those involved in electric pilferage are caught, Pondevilla said Ceneco will also conduct inspections at night time.
Under Republic Act 7832, or the Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Act of 1994, an individual is prohibited from tapping, making, or causing to be made, any connection with overhead lines, service drops, or other electric service wires, without previous authority or consent of the private electric utility or rural electric cooperative concerned.
The public is warned to refrain from making any connection to existing electric service facilities of any duly-registered consumer without the latter’s or the electric utility’s consent or authority.
Those caught may serve jail terms from 6 to 12 years, and pay a fine ranging from P10,000 to P20,000.
DSB EXTENSION OFFICE
Ceneco, meanwhile, opened its extension office in Salvador Benedicto to serve 2,467 member-consumers in the town.
Pondevilla said the newly-constructed building is located at Poblacion, Brgy. Igmaya-an in front of the Municipal Hall, and will entertain payments, applications, line troubleshooting, and other concerns. He said half of the building, that was inaugurated last week, will serve as the new town fire station. The inauguration and blessing was led by Rev. Fr. Rodolfo Benlot Jr. and attended by Mayor Laurence Marxlen Dela Cruz, and Ceneco-Murcia area manager Hernani Veniegas, with Ceneco officials, managers, and personnel, and Bureau of Fire Protection OIC municipal fire marshal Ladi Maglasang and personnel.*