PANAY Electric Co. (PECO) should stop confusing Iloilo City residents regarding the legitimate distribution utility in the city, Mayor Geronimo Treñas and lone district Rep. Julienne Baronda said in a joint statement.
Iloilo City’s top officials are up in arms against the old utility firm, PECO, because “it has clearly refused to accept it has lost its congressional franchise and its provisional certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).”
“PECO has raised a lot of issues after it was not given a new congressional franchise and its provisional permit to operate was not granted anew by the ERC,” Baronda said, referring to the continuing publicity events conducted by PECO to push its claim of ownership of the Iloilo City power distribution franchise.
Baronda, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy, said those activities sow “confusion as to who is the real and legal distribution utility in Iloilo City.”
Treñas had previously expressed his displeasure at PECO’s insistence that it is still the city’s rightful distribution utility and had to issue a public statement asking the city’s residents to disregard the old utility’s claim as false.
He asked residents to recognize More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) as the legitimate utility running the city’s power distribution system and holder of the legal permit to operate from the ERC.
Baronda said, “Since PECO already filed several cases and will not accept the fact that it was denied a franchise by Congress, I advise PECO to await the final ruling of the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, Iloilo City Councilor Alan Zaldivar fumed over what he called a “desperate act” on the part of PECO in its recent publicity push for news reports claiming that Iloilo City council members, including him, were livid over the power outages caused by the rehabilitation and preventive maintenance work conducted by MORE Power on several substations in the city to stop their further decay.
Zaldivar said PECO was clearly behind the news reports that quoted him complaining about the brownouts after MORE Power officials, led by its president, Roel Castro, appeared in the City Council’s investigation regarding the issue and revealed that repair works were necessary because PECO left a “rotting, decrepit” distribution system.
Castro presented before the City Council that the technical inspection conducted by Miescor Engineering Services Corp. discovered 900 points in the city’s electricity distribution system that were “hotspots” or nearing collapse. Thus, these could cause further damage and even lead to old transformers overheating and exploding if the lubricant oil had not been replaced.
“The repair and maintenance that we have been implementing are necessary to extend the life of the substations and prevent breakdowns which could lead to massive and prolonged brownouts,” Castro said during the city council’s fact-finding session on the power outages that hit certain parts of the city when MORE Power conducted preventive maintenance work on the substations.
Zaldivar denied reports that he castigated MORE Power’s team during the hearing and said news reports quoting him were false.
“National tabloids even headlined stories indicating that I castigated Mr. Castro, which is a total lie. I have not, in any way, castigated or imputed anything bad against the president of MORE. In fact, we were so thankful at the City Council for MORE’s presence in the fact-finding investigation because MORE cleared the issues, a gesture that the former composition of the City Council never had during the time of PECO,” Zaldivar said.
The City Council said it welcomed MORE Power’s open report on what is happening to the city’s electricity distribution system and the preventive maintenance work being done by the company to alleviate the city from its worst power outages and threat to life and property of Ilonggos.
THE MANILA TIMES