Peco ‘surprised’ by ERC findings of operational lapses, says regulator ignored ‘valid points’

By Lenie Lectura -December 6, 2019
from Business Mirror

BELEAGUERED power-utility firm Panay Electric Co. Inc. (Peco) said Thursday it was “surprised” by the probe results released by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), saying “multiple valid points” were not taken into consideration by the agency.

“We in Peco are surprised by the seeming slant that the ERC is taking and we just hope that the ERC will not allow itself to be manipulated by the propaganda of economic saboteurs and give Peco a fair assessment,” Peco said in a statement.

The ERC said last Wednesday that it found “operational lapses” on the part of Peco and has directed the utility firm to explain the apparent operational lapses found by the ERC’s inspection team.

“We aim to respectfully clarify the points brought up in the notice given to Peco since we see that multiple valid points that were also seen by the ERC ocular inspection team were surprisingly not taken into consideration in the order given,” Peco said.

Regarding ERC’s claim that Peco’s protective devices were not properly rated and designed, Peco gave assurances that it has multiple protective devices with proper ratings and designs for each of its feeder lines and down to its secondary lines. Moreover, it explained that the fires that happened didn’t involve Peco’s lines as most of them are attributed to the improper bundling of telecom and cable lines which oftentimes short out.

On the failed voltage tests in certain locations, Peco said the areas with low voltage levels visited by the ERC ocular inspection team were actually places with electrical pilferage—a problem that resulted in the dropping of the voltage level due to the unregistered loads in the areas.

ERC also raised the issue of leaning poles and those in unsafe positions. “We would like to stress that Peco has a regular pole replacement and relocation program in place every year in order to cope with the DPWH projects being implemented around Iloilo City. We also have maintenance activities in order to straighten certain poles that tend to lean after some time. This is a year-to-year activity since coordinating with telco and cable companies take time,” it said.

Peco, it added, has filed for 40 Elevated Metering Center sites during the last regulatory period, contrary to the ERC’s findings.

Also, contrary to the ERC’s report, Peco claimed it has been constantly coordinating with the ERC Visayas Head Office with regard to its documentary requirements in relation to the renewal of its Meter Shop Certificate of Authority.

“Peco has been trying its best to abide by the rules and regulations of the ERC despite multiple external factors beyond our control. We communicated to the ERC that should they need further clarification on certain matters, we are very much willing to cooperate as we have been doing so consistently,” it said.