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Iloilo firm vows continued power supply

ILOILO CITY—With two days before its 25-year franchise expires, the Panay Electric Co. (Peco) has assured Ilonggos of continued and uninterrupted power supply in Iloilo City amid the holding of the world-famous Dinagyang Festival.

“We made a commitment to the city that there will be no power interruption. We will abide by that commitment,” said Mikel Afzelius, Peco corporate communications officer.

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Afzelius said Peco would continue to operate despite its license’s expiration on Jan. 18 under a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) which would be valid until May this year.

The CPCN is the authority granted by government agencies, including the Energy Regulatory Commission, as a permit to operate public utilities.

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Peco’s application for a renewal of its franchise has been stalled at the House committee on legislative franchises since it was filed on July 31, 2017.

Swift action

But a bill granting a 25-year franchise to the Razon-controlled More Electric and Power Corp. was passed swiftly in the House needing only 12 calendar days after it was filed on Sept. 26, 2018.

It was subsequently passed in the Senate and a bicameral committee in December and will become a law when President Duterte signs it or 30 days after it is transmitted to the President.

More Power is a new company that has no track record of power distribution.

Peco is the city’s lone power distributor which supplies electricity to 55,000 consumers, including residences and offices. Owned by the Cacho family, the company has been operating in the city since 1923.

P700 million

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In an earlier interview, Roel Castro, More Power president, said the new firm was ready to take over the power distribution in the city.

He said the company planned to invest P700 million for a three-year rehabilitation program to upgrade the assets of Peco. More Power is also ready to acquire the assets of Peco.

Afzelius said, however, that Peco would continue to push for the renewal of its franchise even after the May 2019 elections if the current bill would not be enacted.

If the bill granting the franchise to More Power becomes law, Peco will exhaust all legal remedy to block the confiscation of its assets.

“We will not give up our assets and facilities as there is no agreement [between the two companies] on our selling of these assets,” he said.

Temporary

The new franchise bill passed by the Senate and House provided for a two-year transition period wherein More Power can establish or acquire its distribution system.

During the transition period, Peco will be granted provisional authority to operate.

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TAGS: Iloilo, Panay Electric Co, Peco, Philippine news update, Power supply
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