Wednesday, July 15, 2020

PECO Out, MORE Power In - Business, Transport Groups


Various groups and leaders in the business and transportation sectors in Iloilo City expressed support for More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), a newfangled distribution utility in the area.

At the same time, the groups also said that Panay Electric Co. (PECO), the old utility company, could best serve Iloilo's interest if they accept that they no longer can provide the services that are required of them and that they spare the city from the ongoing struggle it wants in order to push the new utility company out.

Scheduled power outages occurred in the city which resulted from their effort to correct the electric supply distribution problem of the city, MORE Power stated in separate media statements

Francis Gentoral, the Executive Director of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF), stated that ILEDF has its confidence in MORE Power in being committed to being transparent not only in its services, but also in informing the public about unscheduled power interruptions, their durations, and causes.

Similarly, Raymundo Parcon, President of the Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (ICLAJODA) commended MORE Power for "diligently doing their upgrading and comprehensive preventive maintenance in all its substations and upgrading its distribution lines".

However, these statements were countered by PECO stating that the said power outages were caused by MORE Power's lack of experience in running such an operation

"ILEDF calls for unity in the face of the global health crisis and for PECO to accept the things it can no longer change - expired franchise, revoked CPCN, revoked Mayor's Permit - for the whole of Iloilo City to move forward and level up as envisioned by the city government."

Furthermore, according to the business groups, the Ilonggos are finally enjoying a per-kilowatt-hour (kWH) rate of less than Php 10.00 when the new company took over whereas under PECO's services, Iloilo City had recorded one of the highest power rates in the country for more than 15 years.


ILEDF said the city's power distribution utility should be in line with a vision by the city's business leaders to promote Iloilo as a preferred investment destination and underscoring the urgency for the world-class electricity service for Iloilo City, and that they should have "a demonstrated capability, track record, and financial capability to operate and maintain a distribution utility for a fast-growing metropolis; make significant investments in infrastructure; systems and technology; and human resources; and maintain a long-term commitment to Iloilo."

According to a study in 2010 conducted by WSP, a Singapore-based electricity distribution expert and consulting firm, significant investments in Iloilo City's distribution system should be undertaken in order to provide the requirements of the business and industry sector. Additionally, in 2018, WSP pointed out that PECO's services lagged behind what distribution utilities in key Philippine cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao provide and the gap widens even more when compared with DUs in the ASEAN region.

ILEDF stated that MORE Power supports efforts to address public welfare concerns particularly on the eradication of theft of electricity, fire prevention, and overall improvement of services to the Iloilo City consumers, which the residents experienced in the first months of its operations.


Moreover, corrective maintenance on the existing distribution facilities which had fallen into such a serious state of disrepair brought about by years of neglect and lack of capital investments was observed from the new company.

Halley Alcarde, General Manager of the Western Visayas Transport Cooperative, showed her satisfaction to More Power in its commitment in delivering the needed upgrades in all aspects of their operations, from upgrading the capacity of every substation to their distribution lines, and replacements of old meters of its consumers.

She also noted the uproar from the city's residents over PECO's overbilling of its customers and the proliferation of illegal connections that resulted in a higher rate of systems loss that caused Ilonggos' monthly power bills one of the highest in the Philippines before MORE Company took over.

Alcarde also praised Roel Castro, MORE Power's President, for his openness and transparency with the company's dealings and in handling operations down the line as consumers are updated of the current power distribution situation and its current limitations, a feat that the old company didn't provide

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