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Peco asks ERC to reconsider revocation order

Consumers feel on the losing end of the 'power struggle'
/ 04:54 PM March 12, 2020

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—The Panay Electric Company (Peco) has appealed the revocation of its authority to operate as a power distributor in this city as it sought the repossession of its distribution assets.

In a 24-page urgent motion for reconsideration filed on March 9, Peco asked the Energy Regulator Commission (ERC) to reinstate its provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and revoke the provisional authority to rival More Power Electric Corp. (More Power).

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In a March 5 resolution, the ERC had revoked the provisional CPCN issued to Peco after it determined that More Power has “established or acquired its own distribution system.”

The ERC also granted provisional authority to More Power to operate its distribution network.

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A CPCN is an authority granted by government agencies, including the ERC, as a permit to operate public utilities.

In its motion submitted by the Divina Law firm, Peco said More Power “does not possess both the financial capacity and technical know-how to operate the electric distribution system” in the city.

It said More Power’s claim that it had taken full control and operation of the distribution facilities in Iloilo was “inaccurate and misleading.”

Peco cited the order of the Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 23 which directed the two parties on the implementation of the writ of possession covering expropriated distribution assets of Peco. before turning these over to More Power.

In the addendum, Judge Emerald Requina-Contreras said that upon installation, More Power “may deploy their personnel to man and oversee the substations…but the operation should still be handled by Peco personnel who has the technical expertise.”

More Power has been insisting that they have complied with the court orders.

In a four-page urgent ex-parte motion filed on March 6 at the Iloilo RTC Branch 23, Peco asked the court to direct court sheriffs with the assistance of police personnel to install Peco personnel in all substations and facilities and limit More Power personnel in these facilities as “mere observers.”

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Before More acquired its franchise through Republic Act 11212, Peco was the sole power provider In Iloilo City for 95 years, tracing back to the post-World War II rehabilitation efforts. More entered the energy industry just two years ago.

Meanwhile, power consumers in Iloilo City are outraged by the brownouts taking place, just one week after More took over operations of five of Peco’s substations.

In an advisory released on More’s Facebook page, the company noted that it took more than two hours to finish the restoration of unscheduled power interruptions in the areas of Brgy. Santo Niño, Brgy. Santo Niño Norte, Calaparan in Arevalo district, and Calumpang in the Molo district.

More attributes the interruption to a “momentary line fault.”

I-Konsumidor, a group of power consumers in Iloilo City, believes that the “power struggle” between More and Peco leaves consumers on the losing end.

“We must take note that More Power’s franchise in Republic Act 11212 provides that Peco must first settle its obligations to the consumers before wrapping up its operations,” the group said. “We cannot rely on More because it is not bound to settle such obligations to us when it eventually takes over the distribution services.”

The group also expressed their concern regarding the basis for More to bill consumers.

“More is running the facilities, but Peco is the one who has contracts with power generators. These contracts cannot be assigned to More,” said the group.

“If More will start billing us after two months, what will be the basis of their rates? We don’t know because there was no application nor did we attend or even learn of any public hearing on their application for provisional authority to enter into a Power Supply Agreement,” added the group.

With INQUIRER.net

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TAGS: Electricity, Iloilo, MORE Power, Peco
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