FDC: Iloilo City folk pay highest power rates
Residents of Iloilo City have been burdened by the most expensive power rates in all urban centers nationwide for the past several years, according to Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC).
Ted Aldwin Ong, chair of FDC chapter in Iloilo, said this was the finding of a recent study on electricity rates charged by local power utilities in residential areas in Metro Manila, Davao, General Santos, Tacloban, Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo.
He said the sole power distributor in Iloilo province, Panay Electric Co. Inc. (Peco), had been charging the priciest electricity rates in 70 other countries since 2008 at P12.0917 per kilowatt-hour.
In comparison, electricity consumers in Metro Manila were paying P10.219 per kwh while residents of Davao City were being charged P10.1228 per kwh.
He said the same conclusion also came up when a similar study was done in 2010, results of which were noted by the committee on legislative franchises of the House of Representatives when it tackled the franchise application of MORE Electric Power Corp. of businessman Enrique Razon Jr.
“Peco is committing a great injustice to [Ilonggos] for it has repeatedly failed to justify why its rates are skyrocketing yet its quality of service is way below par,” Ong said.
He said the city council of Iloilo had already approved a resolution urging Congress to allow new power distributors to service residents of Iloilo and terminate the existing franchise of Peco in a bid to bring down the power rates in the province.
In Iloilo City, business owners who have avoided publicly endorsing either Peco or MORE have appealed for the swift resolution of the impasse.
“We hope this will be resolve the soonest,” said Ma. Lea Victoria Lara, executive director of Iloilo Business Club.
“What is of prime importance here is the welfare of consumers which should be given priority above everything else,” she told the Inquirer.
The 25-year franchise of Peco is set to expire in 2019. The company has been operating in the city since 1923.
House Bill No. 6023 seeks to extend the franchise for another 25 years. —With a report from Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
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