Finding ‘operational lapses,’ ERC orders Peco to explain

By Lenie Lectura -December 5, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has found “operational lapses” on the part of Panay Electric Co., Inc. (Peco).

In an order dated November 26, and released to the public Wednesday, the agency directed Peco to submit its explanation for the apparent operational lapses found by the ERC’s inspection team.

Peco’s directors and officers were required to explain why no administrative penalty should be imposed and/or criminal action instituted against them for violating the pertinent provisions of the Philippine Distribution Code (PDC) 2017 Edition; Amended Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR); Amended Elevated Metering Center (EMC) Rules; and ERC Resolution 12, Series of 2009 (Guidelines for the Accreditation of Satellite Laboratories of Meter Shops).

“Based on the findings of the ERC technical team that conducted the ocular inspection on the electric distribution system of Peco, the latter committed lapses in the operations and maintenance of its distribution system, thereby posing danger and risks to the lives and properties of its consumers,” said ERC Chairman Agnes VST Devanadera.

Based on the inspection team’s findings, Peco’s protective devises were not properly rated and designed; some poles were found leaning and in unsafe positions; and some meters were found to be clustered and installed in an EMC without securing prior ERC approval.

It was further uncovered that the Certificate of Authority (CA) for Peco’s meter shop expired on last November 18. Peco has not filed the application for the renewal of the same.

“Peco must submit its explanation within 15 days from receipt of the Commission’s Order pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act [Epira].  We need to accord Peco the opportunity to explain its side before we evaluate the extent of their liability for the operational lapses that were discovered,” Devanadera said.

Complaint

The probe stemmed from a complaint filed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas who alleged that the electric pole fire incidents were brought about by Peco’s “inadequately-maintained lines and hazardous electric posts.”

The ERC then dispatched an inspection team, which looked into the different aspects of Peco’s distribution system.   Treñas said he filed the complaint to address Peco’s failure to prevent the continuing threat to public safety by its inadequately-maintained lines, power outages and hazardous electric posts because of the numerous and continuing cases of electricity pole fires in the city.

The mayor said he was alarmed after the Iloilo City Fire Marshall and the Bureau of Fire Protection reported that from October  19 to 21, nine Peco electricity poles all around the city caught fire either due to exploding transformers or severed electricity lines.

Iloilo City Fire Marshall Chief Inspector Christophe Regencia said more than half or 1,464 cases out of 2,887 incidents of fire in Iloilo City since January 2014 were caused by pole fires.