Revocation of CPCN of MORE sought due to massive brownouts

Published August 6, 2020, 5:05 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

With the massive brownouts and service deterioration it inflicted on consumers in Iloilo City and the alleged deceptive tactics employed, a revocation of the provisional certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) or the interim license issued to MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE) had been formally sought with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Atty Estrella C. Elamparo, legal counsel of Panay Electric Company (PECO), recommended that “in line with public interest, the ERC should step in and impose a transition period whereby operations in the meantime will revert to PECO until such time that MORE is truly ready to take over.”

Elamparo further laid down the series of cunning strategies executed by MORE – including the forcible takeover it had done on power distribution in Iloilo City in February, despite legal mandates instituted by a regional trial court.

“In securing its CPCN, MORE also concealed to the ERC the existence of the Addendum issued by the RTC (regional trial court) of Iloilo which mandated that the operation of the electric distribution facility should be maintained with PECO and that there should be transition period.”

PECO, which filed its intervention-comment with the ERC last July 16, argued that MORE made false claims when it contended that the PECO facilities which it acquired with hostility in February were “old and dilapidated’ – with MORE even citing that such had been the causes of the repetitive brownouts tormenting the city.

The utility firm reckoned “this is nothing but an unsubstantiated and convenient excuse by an entity whose incompetence and inexperience to operate a distribution system is now revealed in the face of recurring power outages in Iloilo City.”

The PECO lawyer stressed “there is clearly a pattern of misrepresentation or deception here.”

On the recurring brownouts pestering Iloilo in the past six months, PECO denounced the claims of MORE that the facilities it took over were supposedly “old and dilapidated distribution system.”

PECO stated it’s no less than the ERC which declared in its own ruling in 2018 that the company’s distribution system “is reliable in distributing electricity to the Ilonggo consumers,” and that was underpinned by its record of interruptions which the regulatory body itself had established to be compliant with rules and industry standards.

“To say that PECO’s distribution system is old and dilapidated reeks of desperation to conceal the fact that MORE is completely incompetent and inexperienced to operate a distribution system and provide reliable electricity to the people of Iloilo City,” PECO has emphasized in its filing with the ERC.

Meanwhile, PECO raised with the Commission that “MORE did not include in its Compliance many of the major outages it has posted in its Facebook page and declared only a total of 114.77 total hours of primary feeder level outages.” It noted that such act was another form of deceptive maneuver “because the numbers declared by MORE to the regulators had been short of 296.91 hours compared to the actual total outages.”

The regulatory filing further showed that in MORE’s own data as posted in its Facebook page, there had been “326 hours of power outages” that Iloilo City consumers had already suffered from February 29 to June 22 this year,” and if the reckoning date will be stretched until July 16, 2020, “MORE already accumulated a shocking total of 412 hours in a matter of almost five months of operating PECO’s distribution system.”

PECO thus noted “since MORE’s illegal takeover of PECO’s distribution system on 28 February 2020, the said distribution system has experienced several feeder level power outages, which evinces a major degradation in the service of power distribution in Iloilo City.”

The ERC was further apprised that in the long power interruptions that happened in Iloilo – including the more than 10 hours of brownouts at the Mandurriao substation last June 20, MORE Power also exhibited the technical incompetence of its team when it failed at re-energizing the feeder that tripped despite several attempts. Given such mishaps, Elamparo asserted that “the pattern of misrepresentation and inexcusable inefficiency on the part of MORE” could hopefully “prompt the ERC to reconsider the CPCN it granted in its favor.”