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TAKEOVER BID

Iloilo power firm says new player can’t seize assets

ILOILO CITY — The city’s power distributor will continue to pursue a new franchise even after the signing by President Duterte of a new franchise for another company to operate in the city and other areas.

Mike Afzelius, Panay Electric Co. Inc. (Peco) corporate communications officer, said Peco would continue to seek franchise renewal while there was no agreement yet for Peco to sell its assets to new player More Power Corp., a company owned by ports mogul Enrique Razon.

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Afzelius said Peco welcomed More as a new power distributor. “But realistically speaking they cannot operate because they have no capacity to do so,” he said.

More called on Peco to engage in negotiations for More’s takeover of power distribution in the city.

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“We are ready to take over the operations,” said Roel Castro, More president.

New company

More is a new company and has no experience in power distribution. It has no power distribution assets and facilities in the city.

Last Feb. 14, Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11212 granting More a license to operate an electricity distribution system in Iloilo City, which has at least 55,000 consumers.

Peco’s franchise expired last Jan. 18 and it was operating under a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission valid until May this year.

Owned by the Cacho family, Peco has been operating in the city since 1923.

Afzelius said any negotiation for the takeover of Peco operations should include just compensation and not only power distribution assets but also loss in prospective income. He declined to give a specific amount.

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Legal action

“They will have to put up their own power distribution system without an agreement,” Afzelius said.

“We are also ready to exercise all legal recourse against any unconstitutional expropriation of Peco’s assets,” he told the Inquirer on Wednesday.

A bill filed on July 31, 2017 provided for the renewal of Peco’s franchise by another 25 years but it languished without action at the House committee on legislative franchises.

But the More franchise was passed by the House in 12 calendar days.

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TAGS: Cacho, duterte, Iloilo, Iloilo news, More Power Corp., Panay Electric Co. Inc., Peco, power firm, Razon, updates
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