Conflict among Iloilo power companies stumps consumers | Inquirer News
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Conflict among Iloilo power companies stumps consumers

/ 05:10 AM March 05, 2020

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The struggle over possession and control of power distribution facilities here has left households and businesses in a quandary.

Where to pay electricity bills and whom to address queries relating to power interruptions were among the concerns posted by some of the 52,000 consumers on social media days after the takeover by More Power Electric Corp. (More Power) of the distribution assets of Panay Electric Co. (Peco).

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More Power has taken possession of Peco’s five substations based on a writ of possession issued by the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court Branch 23. The writ was issued after More Power filed last year an expropriation complaint against Peco, which has been operating in Iloilo City for 96 years.

Republic Act No. 11212, signed by President Duterte on Feb. 14, 2019, granted More Power a 25-year franchise to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.

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The franchise law included provisions that granted expropriation rights to More Power. But the court order did not include the Peco administrative building, where consumers pay bills and other customer services are provided.

Both companies have posted emergency hotline numbers for consumers seeking technical and other assistance.

Peco announced that its main office would open to accept connection applications, billing inquiries and payments.

More Power opened its own customer service office on General Luna Street here, about a kilometer from Peco office.

It will begin billing consumers in April after a cutoff reading which will delineate those payable to Peco and More Power, according to Roel Castro, More Power president.

Supply agreements

While More Power has control over the power substations, Peco said electricity that is being supplied to the city’s consumers was covered by power supply agreements between the firm and its suppliers.

Marcelo Cacho, Peco administrative officer, said his firm has existing 15-year contracts with its suppliers.

“The supply is coming from our contracts but we cannot stop these because we are avoiding any disruption,” he said.

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