All systems go for MORE Power – ERC

Line crews of MORE Power Iloilo change the rotten primary and secondary line poles and straightened the leaning poles at Brgy. Buntatala in Jaro, Iloilo City on Saturday upon request of barangay officials. Punong Barangay Tarlene Hosenilla thanked the team for the immediate response.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Iloilo City residential, commercial and industrial power users can start enjoying the services of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) and no longer Panay Electric Co. (PECO), the Energy Regulatory Commission said yesterday in a clear blow to the old company’s efforts to stall its eventual demise.

In a statement, ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said it is all systems go for MORE Power as the distribution utility for Iloilo City with the issuance of its provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).

In granting MORE Power the CPCN, the ERC also cancelled the provisional CPCN it issued to PECO after the expiry of its franchise last January 18, 2019.

Congress had directed the ERC to issue PECO a provisional CPCN in transition to the full takeover of the city’s distribution system by the new franchise holder, MORE Power.

“With the ERC’s issuance of a Provisional Authority to MORE, it is clear that MORE is the bona fide and legitimate distribution utility in Iloilo City,” Devanadera said.

Devanadera said that with the provisional CPCN, MORE Power is “authorized to implement the last approved distribution charges for the Iloilo consumers,” which means it is the company that should collect the monthly electricity bill of Ilonggos starting on the effectivity of the provisional CPCN.

“The Commission issued the Provisional Authority to protect consumer’s interest by ensuring uninterrupted electric service to consumers in Iloilo City and prevent chaos and confusion among said customers as to who is authorized to operate the distribution system in the area,” Devanadera added.

MORE Power President and Chief Operating Officer Roel Z. Castro said his company “welcomes this development.”

“We strongly urge the consumers to visit the ERC website to check if who is the legitimate distribution utility for the city,” Castro said.

He said “MORE Power is committed to bettering our service to the people of Iloilo City with the modernization and replacement of the old distribution lines and equipment all over the city.”

“We promise to light up the streets of the city with an efficient and professional staff dedicated to be good community partners of Ilonggos,” Castro said.

MORE Power acquired the 25-year franchise to distribute electricity from Congress in January 2019 after the legislature ignored PECO’s own petition for a renewal of its franchise in view of very strong organized opposition from thousands of Iloilo City consumers dissatisfied with the 95-year-old utility’s inefficient services, high distribution charges and ineffective customer relations systems.

The ERC finally issued MORE Power its provisional CPCN when it secured a Writ of Possession from the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court to expropriate certain distribution assets of PECO and it started managing and administering the distribution system in the city.