Panay power firm to move for renewal of franchise
ILOILO CITY – The Panay Electric Company (Peco) will push for the renewal of its franchise under the new Congress.
Marcelo Cacho, Peco administrative officer, said they were waiting for the membership of House committees to be finalized before asking one of the legislators to sponsor a bill that would grant the power distribution firm a 25-year franchise.
“We have always expressed our position that there can be two or more power distribution firms in an area,” Cacho said.
A bill to renew Peco’s franchise did not prosper at the House committee on legislative franchises during the last Congress.
Instead, the House and the Senate passed a bill granting a 25-year franchise to More Power Electric Company (More Power), a company owned by billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.
The franchise, which was signed into law by President Duterte on February 14, requires More Power to acquire or put up its distribution system within two years or until February 2021.
More Power, which does not have distribution assets, has filed a petition before the Iloilo Regional Trial Court to expropriate Peco’s distribution assets.
It has asked the Iloilo RTC to issue a writ of possession authorizing it to expropriate Peco’s distribution assets valued at P481,842,450.
But the Mandaluyong RTC on July 1 barred More Power from expropriating Peco’s distribution assets.
It also ruled that Section 10 (right of eminent domain) and Section 17 (transition of operations) of the franchise law are void and unconstitutional for infringing on Peco’s rights to due process and equal protection of the law.
More Power this month filed a petition for review before the Supreme Court.
Peco’s franchise expired on Jan. 18, but the Energy Regulatory Commission has granted a provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Peco to continue distributing power in Iloilo City staving off disruption of power supply to consumers amid the continuing legal dispute between the two firms. /lzb
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