Blackout threat

November 16, 2018
Panay Electric Company
Panay Electric Company

ILOILO City councilors have sought to invite officials of the Panay Electric Co. (PECO) to explain the alleged threat aired by the company’s lawyer, Atty. Inocencio Ferrer, that Iloilo City may face a power blackout.

Officials are dismayed that PECO may shut down its operations should Congress deny their renewal for franchise which is set to expire on January 19, 2019.

Councilor Joshua Alim said the supposed statement of Ferrer should have been avoided.

Iloilo City residents should blame the House of Representatives and the Senate if the city is plunged into a power blackout because PECO would close shop on January 19, 2019 when its franchise expires.

Ferrer also said PECO will resist plans to expropriate PECO’s transmission assets for sale to new utility firm More Electric Power Corp. which recently got legislative franchise from the House of Representatives and almost in the Senate to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.

Alim expressed belief that the Cacho family, which owns majority of PECO shares, would not turn their back on their commitment to continue electricity service in Iloilo City.

PECO President Miguel Cacho assured Iloilo residents that they will continue their operations as long as they can because they love to serve their fellow Ilongos.

Ferrer said they would not abandon Iloilo, but underscored the importance for Congress to grant their request for franchise renewal so that they can operate.

Councilor Armand Parcon said he wants to schedule the hearing on November 29 to clarify everything about the statements of Ferrer.

The House of Representatives had voted on October 9 with 211 congressmen in favor and four against  granting a 25-year franchise to More Power to distribute and sell electricity to Iloilo City’s 60,000 residential and business client base.

PECO’s application is still pending before the House committee on legislative franchises.

Iloilo City Mayor Joe Espinosa III said he will invite Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public services, to discuss the possible transition plan.

“Iloilo City needs a power distributor utility who can address the concerns, who can be consumer-friendly,” said Councilor Plaridel Nava.