IN THE long-drawn “battle” between the nearly century-old, Panay Electric Company (PECO) and MORE Electric Power Company (MORE Power), the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ power distributor in the island owned by businessman Enrique Razon, the main stakeholders, the consumers, are yet to see something to behold at:
The “realisation” of MORE’s “commitment” before Congress of its “readiness” to take over the power distribution business of PECO as soon as it was given a franchise by the legislative branch.
Well, it’s been close to six months now since MORE was given its franchise— and approved by PDU30 as RA 11212 last February— and still the locals there are attesting that this erstwhile mining company has yet to put in place its assets and facilities, a fact “confirmed” by PECO administrative manager, Marcelo Cacho.
In previous interviews that we came across, MORE president and CEO, Roel Castro said:
“We want to hit ground. With the tremendous corrections that we have to do, I want to make sure that we hit the ground running on day one.
“As far as we are concerned, it is something calculated. If we don’t do anything and wait for the takeover, it might take six months or longer (which) I feel that is a bit unfair to the consumers having seen the state of the utility.”
But some six months later, those statements and other soothing statements of Castro to assure the doubting Thomases, some lawmakers included, in the absence today of any electric pole or other pieces of electrical equipment to start its operations would be what they actually are: statements. Translation? “Laway lang hanggang ngayon,” ahahay!
Such incomprehensible development, given the awesome financial muscle of Mr. Razon, is something that, understandably, “fodder” for Cacho’s “cannon,” who added:
“It is already six months and we still don’t see any assets that can be verified through the Committee on Legislative Franchise in the Congress.
“If they cannot acquire the properties and facilities of PECO, they will set up their own assets and facilities which until this date and in previous hearing, we don’t see any assets,” Cacho said in an interview with the local media recently.
Citing the congressional committee hearing on Sept 5, 2018, Cacho said Castro vowed to build their own facilities.
“Mr. Castro admitted that presently, they do not have the facilities, but if their application would be approved they will build their own facilities.
“I think it boils down that they deceived the committee because their only plan since the start was the take over of PECO’s business without the plan of setting up their own facilities.
“They are not ready, not capable, had no intention of setting up their own technical assets,” Cacho gloated, err, stressed.
And speaking of the transcript of the congressional hearings, dear readers, Iloilo consumers should not be surprised if they got a “shock,” akin to an “electric shock.
For in one of the transcripts of the franchise hearings last year that I got to peruse over, Castro admitted to lawmakers that MORE would have to pass on to Iloilo consumers this “capital expenditure”that can come in the form of the cost to acquire the entire assets and equipment of PECO or, the cost of acquiring new ones.
In other words, it is the ordinary “peeps” of Iloilo and nearby areas who would have to bear the consequences of their having a new power distributor, aguy,aguy,aguy!
Yes, my dear fellow Ilongos, there’s more to MORE than meets the eyes but whichever way you put it, it’s not going to include a cheaper cost of electricity for you!