PECO questions denial

Panay Electric Company (PECO) Administrative Manager Marcelo Cacho (left) in a media interview. (F. A. Angelo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

PANAY Electric Co. (PECO) questioned the decision of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to deny its application for franchise to distribute power in Iloilo City.

PECO Administrative Manager Marcelo Cacho believes that there were insufficient grounds for the denial of their franchise application.

“They were putting words into the mouths of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) people. What happened there was they denied it and there were insufficient grounds for their denial,” he said.

Cacho said they are still determined to re-file their franchise application, emphasizing that the decision does not affect the ongoing court cases between PECO and rival firm MORE Electric and Power Corp.

“We are going to just file again. This does not affect or change the case and cases’ decision and the fact that MORE is not yet operating. We will strategize and re-file our franchise. The time is also picking on MORE because they have not operated. Their franchise was approved last February 14 and they have one year and six months to go while we just continue to operate, we leave the decision to the courts,” he stressed.

This is the second time that PECO sought to renew its franchise after their first application was denied by the 17th Congress in 2018.

MORE Power is poised to take over power distribution services in Iloilo City after securing its congressional franchise via Republic Act 11212 on Feb 14, 2019.

The same law also allowed PECO to distribute power in the metro despite the lack of franchise which expired in January, while MORE Power is in the transition period.

The two power firms are currently locked in several court battles in an attempt to be the sole power distributor in the city.

The expropriation case filed by MORE against PECO in an attempt to take over its assets was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 35 in Iloilo City.

Before this, RTC Branch 37 granted MORE’s application for a writ of possession in relation to the expropriation case.

On the other hand, PECO secured a favorable decision from the Mandaluyong RTC which declared Sections 10 and 17 of RA No. 11212 void and unconstitutional.