The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, the prime movers of Iloilo City’s business sector, said the failure of former retailer Panay Electric Co. to lower power rates has turned investors away.
“Though PECO initiated some improvements, still they were not enough, not at par with the standards and requirements set to attract investments,” ILEDF executive director Francis Gentoral said in a statement.
Gentoral said the improvements made by PECO in the distribution system were not enough to meet world-class standards that could have made its rates more competitive and acceptable to new businesses.
The ILDF earlier said Iloilo City needed a utility company with “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.”
Gentoral said these are the qualities that will provide Iloilo City with a world-class power distribution system to assure investors of a stable, continuous and cost-effective electricity supply.
New distributor MORE Power and Electric Corp. announced plans to invest P1.8 billion in new systems and equipment that could remove the inefficiencies such as systems losses arising from pilferage and technical waste of electricity allegedly because of the old equipment and distribution lines of PECO.
Engineering expert firm MIESCOR Corp. said in a technical study of the entire distribution network when MORE Power took over in March this year it found the possible existence of at least 30,000 illegal power connections that resulted in Iloilo City suffering systems losses of as high as 9.3 percent or way above the standards set by the government.
Systems losses above the mandated cap are absorbed by the city’s residents and businesses and paid through monthly bills.
Gentoral said MORE Power was able to lower the city’s power rates to below P9 per kilowatt-hour, the first time that the city’s power rates fell below P10 per kwh for two decades.
The business group said that for the first time, “Iloilo City consumers … finally, enjoy[ed] a [per] kilowatt-hour rate of less than P10 when MORE Power took over as distribution utility.”
“ILEDF calls for unity in the face of the global health crisis and for PECO to accept the thing it can no longer change in order for the whole of Iloilo City to move forward and level up as envisioned by the city government,” Gentoral said.
ILEDF commissioned Singaporean firm WSP in 2010 and 2018 to undertake a review of the electric power distribution utility performance in Iloillo City which was presented to Congress as part of the franchise deliberation.