The Albay Province in the Philippines, lost power at noon Tuesday due to an unpaid electric bill.
The power outage came after officials were unable to pay $92 million of unpaid electric bills, which resulted in all residential, government and corporate accounts in the province being disconnected. The loss of power affected around 160,000 homes and forced hospitals and hotels to use generators, reports The New York Times.
“We pay our bill on time, but we are still disconnected,”Daisy Armadio, who works at a diabetes clinic in Legazpi, told NYT. “This is a big problem, but we can manage.”
Power was restored at 5 p.m. on Wednesday after the local power cooperative agreed to pay the overdue amount for June 2013, which was about$440,000. Local officials want to use a disaster relief fund to pay off the remaining debt, but it is unclear if it is legal to do so. Edcel Lagman, who represents the province in the Philippine House of Representatives, has compared the power outage to a natural disaster, reports NYT.
The Energy Department had two conditions for returning power: one was not returning power to the top 100 non-paying customers, and the other was creating a rehabilitation plan to pay off the remaining electric bills.