By BusinessMirror – March 10, 2020

SUPPLY of electricity in Iloilo City has been notably stable and reliable for the past nine days since More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) took over certain distribution assets of Panay Electric Co. (Peco), the distribution utility firm said Monday.

MORE Power Project Development Head Engr. Rey Jaleco said that since February 29, when the Iloilo City Sheriff’s Office started implementing the Writ of Possession (WOP) issued by the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), four power suppliers have delivered close to 18 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to MORE Power for distribution to the city’s residential, business and industrial power users.

MORE earlier secured power supply agreements (PSAs) with three electricity generation companies—Panay Energy Development Corp., Panay Power Corp. and the Kepco-Salcon  Power Corp.—and the power consolidator Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The utility has also deployed technical teams to man the power substations and roving reaction teams all over the city 24/7 to address consumer complaints, which reached almost 1,500 or an average of 205 cases since February 28.

MORE Power said the average length of time for it to restore power service from the time it was informed of the complaint was one hour and 58 minutes, with five minutes the shortest time, and eight hours and 44 minutes the longest.

Moreover, 58 percent of the calls or posts in social media are about the free installation of new electric meters while the rest were about their area having no electricity or light, and concerns about the meter, pole and billing.

The new distribution utility has also replaced eight aged distribution transformers of Peco in three districts, including three in the city proper, two in the Arevalo district and three in Lapaz district.

“In order to ensure continuity of services to the consumers of Iloilo City, MORE Power trouble shooters and line teams are mobilized to provide assistance as may be needed,” MORE Power said.

In line with a congressional directive, MORE Power has hired 61 former Peco employees. MORE Power needs 71 technical and 52 nontechnical people.

MORE Power said these developments are a testament to its commitment to ensure a stable and reliable supply of electricity for Iloilo City’s residents and business community after finally securing its operations permit.

MORE Power President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Roel Z. Castro personally made the assurance to Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo Treñas.

MORE Power recently secured its provisional certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which revoked Peco’s CPCN.

MORE Power secured its 25-year franchise from Congress in 2019 while Peco’s franchise expired on January 19, 2019.

Under Republic Act 11212 signed on February 14, 2019, by President Duterte, MORE Power was authorized to take over all distribution assets and other properties whether private or government-owned so it can distribute electricity in Iloilo City.

Since February 29, MORE Power has been managing all five substations and all electric meters, power lines, poles, transformers, installations, and distribution equipment throughout Iloilo City.

MORE Power said it is ready to submit to the Iloilo City RTC its program for the complete takeover of the distribution facilities in the city, including the time lines on the transition period, accounting, turnover of records like the list of consumers, and documents relevant to the operation of the distribution system, such as the inventory of personal properties under and inventory of real properties already under the possession of MORE Power.

Peco appeals

Meanwhile, Peco has asked the ERC to revoke the provisional CPCN issued to the Razon-led MORE.

In a 25-page motion for reconsideration filed before the ERC through lawyer Estrella Elamparo, the power distributor said the commission should reinstate its CPCN for it to continue to perform its mandate to distribute electricity to Iloilo City residents.

The filing of the motion was announced by Peco at a press conference in Manila.

Peco said ERC through its Chairman Agnes T. Devanadera erred when it granted MORE a provisional CPCN considering that the latter’s application was not supported by verified and authenticated documents or affidavits as required by Section 8 of Executive Order 172 which created the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB).

It also claimed that MORE’s application for CPCN was based on “serious” misrepresentation  and misapprehension of facts.

Peco added that ERC has no basis in revoking its CPCN considering that MORE has yet to prove its financial and technical capabilities to operate, manage and control its electric distribution system.

Furthermore, Peco said the ERC should not have allowed MORE to source its power requirements from the current power generation suppliers of Peco.

Lenie Lectura, Joel San Juan