November last year, the local council agreed a payment plan with the electricity company to pay off the 280,000 Euros that it owed for 12 months supply. An initial payment of 150,000 was made followed by an agreement to pay the normal bill plus 50,000 Euros on the 18th of each month. However the payments were not made and ten days ago the mayor tried to re-negotiate a reduced amount of 20,000 with Iberdrola which they turned down.
Yesterday, things came to a head when the company cut the supply to four of the town’s public buildings including the town hall. Everything went dead, lights, computers, photocopiers – the lot. With no other choice, the town hall has started to install generators to provide electricity to the affected buildings.
The mayor, Raúl Medina Valero doubts that Bigastro is the only town to be in debt to Iberdrola and yet it seems that ours is only town where the supply has been cut to public buildings, schools and health centres.
The town council also owes 20,000 Euros to Telefonica for six months of bills. It seems that a payment plan has been agreed with the company and measures have been put in place to curb costs.
Almost day-by-day the council are having to juggle between who they can afford to pay and who can be put off. In the end though, companies will not continue to supply and council workers will not continue to work without payment. It would be reassuring to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. At the moment, that must seem a long way off. No matter what your political allegiances are, you can't help but feel sympathy for a council who find themselves in this situation.