Peco refutes Razon claim of inefficiency

By Lenie Lectura – November 26, 2018
from Business Mirror

CACHO-LED Panay Electric Co. (Peco) accused businessman Enrique Razon of feeding the public with wrong information to justify the latter’s railroading in Congress that could lead to the illegal takeover of the electric cooperative.

“We know that we are fighting a Goliath in our quest for survival of our company, but we believe that we have the Ilonggos on our side in this fight for what is just and right,”  Peco, 70-percent held by the Cacho family and 30-percent held by the Lopez group, said in a statement over the weekend.

Last Thursday Razon issued a statement saying Iloilo residents have long suffered under Peco from overcharging and power interruptions.

“Four generations of Ilonggos have suffered under Peco.  Neither are they heard by Peco, who has not addressed the many pending complaints—numbering 1,800—against it. Clearly, it is time the Ilonggos are relieved of their misery,” Razon said.

Razon’s MORE Electric Corp. has applied for legislative franchise to operate in Iloilo City. If awarded one, MORE Electric is seen to take over Peco, whose franhise expires in January next year unless extended by Congress.

“If Peco had been doing a good job, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to apply for this franchise and transform it into a modern, efficient, low cost and state-of-the-art distribution network,” Razon said.

Complaints include poor services, overcharging of power bills with some reaching more than 1,000 percent, accumulated billings due to erroneous meter readings, technical failures, poor customer service, high electricity rates, constant power interruptions and unexplained charges.

Peco hit back, describing Razon’s statement as “exaggerated and misleading.”

Peco said there were 194 validated complaints with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Out of 64,000 customers or 0.003 percent of the total subscribers, only 25 to date are pending ERC decisions with some involving power pilferage.

As per ERC records as of 2017, Province of Siquijor Electric Cooperative Inc. charges P14.0763 and is the most expensive in the Visayas, while Peco charges only P8.2079. There are 19 other utilities in the Visayas alone with higher rates than Peco.  The Visayan Electric Co. of Cebu charges P8.1387, which is not much less than the rate of Peco.

On reliability, Peco cited data from the ERC Distribution Management Committee.  The data showed the country averages for System Average Interruption Duration Index are at 5,135.43 minutes, contrary to Razon’s claims of 54 minutes, and System Average Interruption Frequency Index are at 40.31 incidents, contrary to his figure of 2.18 incidents.  This puts Iloilo City’s total Saidi of 1552.86 minutes and Saifi of 31.71 far below the national averages.

Peco’s system’s loss for 2017 was pegged at 8.37 percent or below the ERC cap of 8.5 percent.

“What the public is not seeing is the apparent disregard of the law by some legislators who rushed the approval of Razon’s mining company, Monte Oro Resources & Energy [MORE] Minerals Corp., without consultation with stakeholders, banking on false statements by some local politicians,” Peco said.

MORE’s franchise application was filed on August 22, 2018, and was approved by the House of Representatives on October 8, 2018, less than two months after its application.