MORE Power vows to curb pole fires in city

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Curbing the number of pole fires in Iloilo City will be the main agenda of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) once it takes over power distribution services from Panay Electric Company (PECO).

MORE Power said that they have already prepared programs and measures to prevent such incidents.

According to Wilmar Gonzaludo, head of Substations Department of MORE Power, they will correct all lapses that trigger and cause pole fires.

“We will replace undersized wires and i-pang correct tanan nga halog. Usually ang gakatabo during pole fires ang wire gainit. Kon undersized ang wire, sobra naga connect which is iban posible illegal ang tendency mainit and maga-loose then mag spark,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Gonzaludo said they also plan to create a response team that will easily respond to pole fires and other fire incidents.

“We are preparing a specific program in coordination with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on paano mapadali ang pagrespond sa kalayo,” he said.

Edwin Montemayor, head of Network Operations, said they are also preparing specific equipment to monitor the overloading of transformers, loose connections and other factors that cause pole fires.

May mga equipment kami nga makalantaw insigida amo na obrahon once matake over kami,” he said.

BFP-Iloilo recorded an increase in fire incidents in Iloilo City from 408 in 2018 to 461 in 2019. Of the 461 incidents, pole fires accounted for 218 cases or 47.2885 percent.

A report from BFP also indicated that five pole fires during the holidays occurred in poles owned by PECO.

PECO countered the report saying that the BFP made “sweeping allegations” obviously meant to discredit the firm.

“It is true that the fires happened in poles that PECO owns but the incidents were brought about by other factors that are not of our doing,” Marcelo Cacho, PECO head of Public Engagement and Government Affairs said in a statement.