Senate OKs franchise of Razon power firm
The Senate is preparing to hammer out the final version of the bill that would grant a franchise to More Electric and Power Corp. to distribute power in IloIlo City.
More, owned by billionaire Enrique Razon Jr., is currently embroiled in a word war with Panay Electric Co., Inc. (Peco), the longtime power distributor in Iloilo province.
On Monday, the Senate approved on third and final reading the bill granting a franchise to More. It passed with 15 affirmative votes, one abstention from Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who is from Iloilo, and no objection.
The chamber on Tuesday designated Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Bam Aquino as members of the bicameral conference committee to reconcile the Senate bill with the House version of the measure.
The bill grants More a franchise to establish a power distribution system in Iloilo, and tasks it to ensure continuity and uninterrupted supply of electricity and similar services in the area.
The franchise will last for 25 years.
The bill also states that Peco will be allowed to operate its distribution system until More has acquired and established its own system.
During the interim period, Peco will be required to settle the full amount that the Energy Regulatory Commission has directed it to refund to its customers in connection with the cases that have been resolved by the agency.
Peco, which is owned by the Cacho family, has accused Razon of leading a “vilification campaign” against the company.
“We know that we are fighting a Goliath in our quest for survival of our company, but we believe that we have the Ilonggos on our side in this fight for what is just and right,” it said. —With a report from Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
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