By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—The power firm owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. firmly believes it is impossible to have two power utilities in this city, the regional capital of Western Visayas.
“There is no jurisprudence, no precedence in having two franchises in one geographical area,” said Roel Castro, president and CEO of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power).
Castro told Manila Bulletin this in response to a statement made by Iloilo City congresswoman-elect Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda that consumers can benefit if there are two existing power utilities.
This is amidst the ongoing tug-of-war between MORE Power and its rival Panay Electric Co. (PECO), which lost its government franchise but continues to distribute electricity in this city.
MORE Power cannot operate since it has no single facility in the city and is battling in court for PECO’s assets, which it claimed is to be expropriated under Republic Act No. 11212.
But PECO is not selling its assets and will seek to renew its expired franchise when the new Lower House and Senate open by June 30.
Granting there will be two power utilities, Castro warned how consumers will carry the burden as the rates will go up.
Meanwhile, MORE Power will acquire 10 megawatts (10 MW) of renewable energy from a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp. Castro and Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc. President Alex Coo signed Wednesday afternoon the contract for an interim power supply. Specifically, MORE Power will get the electricity from geothermal plants.
The contract signing is part of MORE Power’s ground preparations. It also signed a contract with KEPCO SPC Power Corp. (KSPC) for five MWs.