Philippine government shuts off power to 1.2 million residents for unpaid bill

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - An entire province in the Philippines has been plunged into darkness after the national power grid operator cut off supply because of accumulated debt of $93 million.

The blackout that started Tuesday surprised residents of Albay province in the central Philippines, which is home to 1.2 million people.

"It's really dark at night. Since it is also rainy here, it is like during a typhoon," said health insurance company employee Cristie Recebido.

She said Wednesday that shops in the provincial capital Legazpi closed up early and hospitals and offices were running on generators.

The Department of Energy said that a disconnection notice had been served to the Albay Electric Cooperative because it failed to settle a debt of nearly 4 billion pesos ($93 million) over 15 years.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said he was working to resolve the problem and promised to restore electricity within two days. He said he was worried about the economic impact of the blackout on the industry.