ILOILO CITY — The three Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (ILECOs) should improve services for consumers in Iloilo province after the call to expand the coverage of an Iloilo City power distributor has reached Congress.
“It is high time for ILECOs to think how it can improve its system and facilities,” said Rep. Michael Gorriceta of the 2nd District of Iloilo province.
This was after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved House Bill No. 10271 (HB 10271) earlier this week for deliberation.
Co-authored with Rep. Braeden John Biron of Iloilo 4th District, HB 10271 wants to amend Republic Act No. 11212 (RA 11212) that granted MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) a 25-year congressional franchise in February 2019 as the sole electricity distributor in Iloilo City.
If RA 11212 is amended, then MORE Power can distribute electricity to the towns of Iloilo province’s 2nd and 4th Districts respectively.
The clamor for the expansion of MORE Power to serve Ilonggos in the province came after it was able to reduce electricity rate for Iloilo City consumers last July 2021. From the previous rate of Php 10.0149 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), the rate went to Php 6.4562/kWh.
Not only are ILECOs’ electricity rates higher, but consumers perceive it as having obsolete systems.
Gorriceta said that ILECOs cannot keep up with the power demands, especially with the growth and development of towns in Iloilo province.
“I do not discount the role of electric cooperatives. I acknowledge its role in the government’s rural electrification program, but times now are very different when ILECOs were initially established,” Gorriceta told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
Gorriceta cited his hometown of Pavia as an example. Being adjacent to Iloilo City, there is spillover of development as housing, malls and other industries are popping up.
“This increases the demand for electricity in Pavia,” Gorriceta added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommended that a consultation panel should be created to look into the impact to the three ILECOs if indeed the law that gave MORE Power a franchise will be amended.