MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) succeeded in dismantling 4,000 “jumpers” or illegal connections in 42 barangays, expected to improve power situation in Iloilo City.
MORE Power initiated a crackdown on illegal power connections in the city that proliferated under the old utility Panay Electric Co. (PECO) under its “Oplan Valeria.”
Ariel Castaneda, head of MORE Power’s apprehension team said the company has streamlined connection process to make it easier for consumers.
“We’ve shortened the process even more. As soon as they pass the necessary documents from the City Engineer’s Office like the Electrical Safety Inspection Certificate and pay their bill deposit even if it’s only partial—yes, even for just P1,000—they will be installed an electric meter right away, no fuss,” Castaneda said.
He said that to date, around 1,000 residents who used “jumpers” had received regular connections and their own power meters.
A technical study by engineering firm MIESCOR on the city’s electricity distribution network indicated that there were about 30,000 illegal connections that proliferated under PECO.
The high number of electricity pilferage contributed to the huge system losses incurred by PECO that reached 9.3 percent as of 2018, and the cost of this electricity is passed on to the paying regular residential, business and industrial customers.
Iloilo City had had one of the highest electricity rates in the country, until MORE Power started operating the electricity distribution in the city last March and it lowered rates to P9 per kilowatt hour, the first time the rate fell below P10 per kilowatt hour, according to the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILED).
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas warned residents they will be jailed if they continue to use “jumpers.” The city and MORE Power launched the iKONEK Program to help consumers get access to electricity legally.
Allana Babayen-on, MORE Power legal officer, earlier said that there are already six violators of the Anti-Pilferage Law charged in court for violations of the Anti-Power Pilferage Act, which prescribes a mandatory jail time of up to 12 years and/or a fine of up to P20,000 for offenders.