By Ben Rosario
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) acted on Friday to resolve the power distribution operation in Iloilo City when it revoked the provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) of embattled Panay Electric Corporation (PECO), reports reaching the House Committee on Energy revealed.
Information about the ERC action has also reportedly reached the Committee on Legislative Franchise which has yet to conduct hearings on the bill proposing to grant PECO a new legislative franchise that would allow it to operate for another 25 years.
ERC’s revocation of PECO’s CPCN was followed by the issuance to the new distribution utility More Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) of its own ERC authority to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.
MORE Power has acquired distribution assets to perform its mandate to distribute electricity in Iloilo City’s residential areas, business and industrial establishments.
ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera has issued a three-page order that confirmed that MORE Power has complied with the requirement that it has acquired adequate distribution assets after it took “possession and deployed personnel to man and oversee” all five substations in Iloilo City’s five districts and all the distribution lines to perform its mandate.
This followed the issuance of a writ of possession (WOP)) by the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court as an exercise of the new utility’s power to expropriate all distribution assets in the city.
Since MORE Power has been verified to have acquired and is now managing a distribution system, the ERC said there is no need to keep the provisional CPCN issued to PECO.
PECO remains without a congressional franchise since its old legislative license expired in January, 2019.
“We commit to be a good community partner with the people of Iloilo City as we ensure they get reliable, stable and continuous supply of electricity. MORE Power has made sure we have power supply agreements so the Ilonggos can breathe free, they will have no power supply problems under our care,” said Roel Z. Castro, president and chief executive officer of MORE Power.
Castro personally met with Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo Treñas to give this assurance. He met also with the business community in a separate meeting to assure them that business will run smoother and more efficiently with MORE Power handling the city’s electricity distribution system.
He said MORE Power has deployed 24/7 reaction and trouble-shooting teams to make sure all consumer concerns on their electricity supply is solved fast.
The ERC decision also included the following directives:
• Authorized MORE Power to collect the old distribution charge that the ERC allowed PECO to collect as payment from Iloilo City’s electricity consumers.
• MORE Power is required to secure its own Power Supply Agreements to supply the needs of its customers, and if it has not secured such because in case it has not secured the Certificate of Exemption from the Department of Energy so it could enter into emergency PSAs, it is to source its power requirements from the current power generation companies that supplied electricity to PECO.
MORE Power already has four PSAs with electricity power generation companies, according to the ERC’s technical team sent to verify if MORE Power is fully capable of supplying Iloilo’s estimated 80,000 electricity consumers.