PECO created own ‘disaster’

The substation in General Luna, Iloilo City still using 1970 era electro-mechanical relays that serve as protection to the feeder lines and other major substation equipment. This is an old relay that is less accurate compared to the electronic relay or intelligent electronic device that MORE Power will install during the rehabilitation works. Accuracy of protective relays is very relevant in the operation of the distribution system. Its failure to function during fault will result to cascading power outages or even damage the major equipment in the substation.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

PANAY Electric Company, Inc.’s (PECO) downfall may be attributed to its lack of major investments in the last nine years which left most of its distribution system facilities in a critical state, an independent study revealed.

Failure to maintain and upgrade the distribution system led to the deterioration of the power quality to the detriment of the consumers. This means unreliable supply of electricity, low voltage, and damage caused to the consumers’ electrical appliances.

PECO’s negligence in failing to replace faulty electromechanical meters—some of which are 15 years old—resulted in inaccurate meter readings, the study added.

This angered countless Ilonggos as they were made to pay based on estimated averages and not on actual electricity consumed.

In the course of the hearing on the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity of MORE Electric and Power Corp, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) conducted its own independent investigation on the actual state of the distribution system in Iloilo City as run by PECO.

The study discovered alarming lapses in its operations and maintenance (or lack thereof) that posed a danger to life and property of the consumers.

Disgruntled Iloilo City consumers who were fed up with PECO’s subpar services paved the way for MORE Power’s entry in Iloilo City, according to its President and Chief Operating Officer Roel Z. Castro.

Castro said MORE Power is now ready to implement corrective measures to improve the distribution system so that safe, reliable, and quality electric services will be delivered to Ilonggos.

If PECO was “deaf” to the request of consumers for new meters and new connections, MORE Power will be the exact opposite, Castro stressed.

“MORE Power will be proactive,” he stressed, “and we will make it as easy as possible for our consumers to apply for new connections because we consider access to electricity as a non-negotiable right.”

Castro said MORE Power invested in new kilowatt-hour (kWh) meters aimed at improving safety and service reliability. The easy application process for new connections aims to eliminate pilferage and overloading of transformers due to illegal connections by non-registered electricity consumers.

MORE Power will step up and infuse much-needed capital to be invested in the upgrading and maintenance of the distribution system WITHOUT charging the consumers a higher rate.

“As the coming weeks and months will show, there will be no broken promises for Ilonggos insofar as MORE Power is concerned – we will provide the consumers dependable yet inexpensive power.”

In sum, PECO has only itself to blame for its un-renewed franchise and revoked provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), Castro said.