By Myrna M. Velasco
The Panay Electric Company (PECO), which services Iloilo consumers, has been allowed to extend its operations until May this year on the strength of a legally-binding certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) issued to it by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
The Department of Energy (DOE) indicated that discussions had been carried out with PECO owners and executives, warranting them to continue operations within the remaining duration of its CPCN which is until May 25, 2019.
That has been the legal ground resorted to by the DOE and the ERC following the expiration of franchise of the Iloilo power utility this January 19 – and had also spared the distribution firm from threats of government takeover.
In extending PECO services, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi cited provisions of the Public Service Act and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, the guiding laws and policies governing the operations of power utilities in the country.
Given this extended arrangement for the Cacho-owned power utility, the energy department also sought the cooperation of PECO’s contracted electricity suppliers – primarily Panay Power Corporation, Panay Energy Development Corporation and Palm Concepcion Power Corporation.
Cusi thus noted that the franchise area of PECO will be continually served – including Iloilo City, La Paz, Jaro and Arevalo. “PECO will remain as the power service provider in the area,” he said.
Within that premise, the energy chief also appealed to the consumers of the utility firm to “continue to recognize PECO as the power distribution service provider and acknowledge their obligations.”
To its power suppliers, PECO committed to honor obligations under its power supply agreements (PSAs) – chiefly for the capacity of the generation companies it had underwritten; as well as its responsibilities on its trading arrangements with the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
The interim arrangement for PECO, according to Cusi, was anchored on concerns of public interest – because the lack of electricity supply will not just cause public inconvenience but will adversely affect the economic activities of the affected areas.
“Public interest is the primordial concern. Given the crucial role of regional economies in the overall progress of the country, uninterrupted energy services in Iloilo is of utmost importance,” Cusi said.