Iloilo bids goodbye to its ‘dark ages’

"Electricity is crucial to the city's socio-economic development."


Under the helm of a new distribution utility, Ilonggos are now enjoying lesser power outages these days very much unlike the time which brownouts were deemed to be an ordinary everyday occurrence.

The special report of the Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. on the status of the power supply in Iloilo City identified the reasons for the collapse of the controversial 96-year management of Panay Electric Company. Not only its consumers but also the local officials finally rejected its service. They asked Congress and the Energy Regulatory Commission to replace their power supplier.

“PECO, for much of its last years as the city’s electric power distribution utility, had become synonymous to the phrase ‘technical incompetence’ following years of unexplained and prolonged power interruptions that for a while had actually threatened the economic viability of Iloilo City turning off investors instead of attracting them. PECO’s service, at least in its last few years, was nothing but a complete mess,” the PAPI reported stated.

ERC referred to the operational lapses of PECO including defective or inefficient protective devices, unsafe electric posts, overheating substations, failure to upgrade their distribution system for many years and simply guessing the meter reading which resulted to a P631 million refund to consumers. This paved the way for the revocation of PECO's franchise and its business permit.

However, even as Iloilo is now under a new distribution utility, More Electric and Power Corp., PECO insists there are more incidents of brownouts and higher system loss under the new DU.

However, according to PAPI's report, there is no basis to the accusations of PECO against More Power because the former distributor was using sub-standard systems, which More Power is now trying to fix,. Thus, there is a need for scheduled power interruptions, saying “various sectors of the Iloilo City community express its full backing to More Power, with all of them saying the new power distributor is on the right track.”

Meanwhile, some business and church leaders in Iloilo City are hopeful that "life is bright" now that PECO is no longer operating and they are holding on to the commitment of More Power of better and improved service.

“From the standpoint of being a consumer myself, I ask everyone to bear with the situation and have a little more patience. MORE cannot do miracles, like instantly solving the woes we had experienced for decades under PECO. It’s only fair that we allow More to prove its worth,” Msgr. Meliton Oso, head of the Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center says.

The Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines is also opposing any attempt to bring back PECO to Iloilo City because the new power distributor has the capability to address the needs of the city.

PAPI said PECO's distribution infrastructure was underfunded for many years which is the main reason for the electricity problems in Iloilo City.

PAPI said that if PECO cannot handle the needs of the city, it should give way to More Power, which Congress believes has the capability to  roll out the development plan for the entire power system of Iloilo City.

It said the issues involving More Power and PECO is not a simple matter because it involves electricity, the lifeblood and crucial tool for the city's socio-economic development.

Topics: Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc , More Electric and Power Corp , Iloilo City , Panay Electric Company , Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines
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