Consumers and residents of Iloilo City asked the Supreme Court to consider their plight in deciding the issue involving the two distribution utilities in Iloilo City.
“We know that in terms of legal issues, the magistrates look to uphold the rule of law but we hope they can also consider the appeal of the consumers and prioritize it and really look at the situation in Iloilo City and the huge difference in power supply in Iloilo.
We were relieved when our electricity problems were resolved and hopefully this is what the SC will really look into,” Halley Alcarde, General Manager of Western Visayas Transport Cooperative (WVTC) said.
Some 65,000 power consumers in the city will be directly impacted by the decision of the court on the legal issue between franchise holder More Electric and Power Corp. (More Power) and former distributor Panay Electric Co. (PECO).
More Power holds the franchise to operate the electricity distribution system of Iloilo City after this was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2019.
More Power currently also holds a business permit from the Iloilo City government and a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
However, PECO continues to question the takeover of its business operations, saying it was unconstitutional. PECO's franchise was not renewed by Congress and lapsed last January 2019.
Alcarde said MORE Power, while in operation for only six months, had proven itself capable to manage the distribution system of Iloilo City.
He said consumers experienced better, more reliable and efficient services from More Power in the past six months compared to PECO’s operations which had lasted for several decades.
“There will be brownouts in Iloilo City but these are scheduled power interruptions and the public are given advisory when it will be resolved unlike the previous distributor where consumers are not informed how long the brownouts will be or how soon power will be resolved. We have seen that More Power is able to address the problems unlike PECO where no action is taken,” added Alcarde.
Francis Gentoral, executive director of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (IEDF) said MORE Power had a strong sense of accountability and transparency by providing the right service to consumers even though they were still on the transition phase.
Gentoral said IEDF had noted a marked improvement in the status of power supply under More Power.
The group, which has been actively wooing investors to Iloilo City, said it was more optimistic about Iloilo City today.
More Power president Roel Castro earlier said the company was spending P1.8 billion to upgrade the distribution system of the city over a three-year period.
The company has upgraded 100 distribution transformers, replaced 100 electric poles and fixed 97 hotspot connectors, replaced switchboards and transformers in all 5 substations and replaced electric meters of around 15,000 residents