Blackout threat hit

November 20, 2018
Panay Electric Company
Panay Electric Company

A HOUSE leader has turned the tables on Panay Electric Company (PECO), saying Congress should not be blamed in case a blackout hits Iloilo City as an offshoot of the firm’s possible failure to renew their congressional franchise.

Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, the chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusement, said it would be unfair to blame the House of Representatives and the Senate if PECO’s franchise  were to expire on January 18, 2019.

“Congress has decided to give the franchise to another company. A franchise is a privilege granted by Congress,” said Tambunting.

Earlier, PECO Legal Counsel Inocencio Ferrer allegedly warned of blackout in Iloilo City if Congress rejects their application for franchise renewal.

But Tambunting explained Congress grants a legislative franchise to a well-deserving company.

Earlier, consumers complained of PECO’s alleged overcharging, an allegation vehemently denied by the firm.

Tambunting also questioned the alleged failure of PECO officials to attend the technical working group (TWG) hearing created by the Senate Committee on Public Services led by Sen. Grace Poe where the alleged transition process is being discussed.

The process allegedly discusses the possible transfer of PECO’s operations to new utility firm More Electric and Power Corp. that the House of Representatives and the Senate granted a congressional franchise.

“PECO knows what Congress can do if they refuse to comply,” said Tambunting.

“The power of Congress to exercise its functions cannot be hostaged by their refusal to participate in the TWG. Government also has the power of eminent domain. Article III, Sec. 9 of the Constitution says ‘Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.’ Government can choose to exercise its power of eminent domain if they refuse to comply,” said Tambunting.