More Power granted 25-year distribution franchise in Iloilo City
ILOILO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law granting More Electric and Power Corp. (More Power), a firm controlled by billionaire Enrique Razon, a 25-year power distribution franchise in Iloilo City.
In a letter dated Feb. 14, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the President had signed Republic Act No. 11212.
Iloilo has around 55,000 consumers, including residences and offices.
“Once we received the official copy from the Office of the President, we will immediately publish it in a newspaper with nationwide circulation for 15 days for it to become effective,” according to the More Power in an earlier statement.
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When the franchise takes effect, this will start a maximum two-year period transition from the distribution operations of Panay Electric Company (Peco).
Within the transition period, More Power can establish or acquire its distribution system.
Peco’s franchise expired on Jan. 18, 2019, but it will continue to operate until May this year under a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Owned by the Cacho family, Peco has been operating in the city since 1923.
More Power said it would be willing to negotiate with Peco’s owners for the acquisition of their facilities “at a fair price.”
More Power President Roel Castro earlier said his company was planning to infuse P700 million in capital in a three-year rehabilitation program.
The company also promised to improve customer care services and to lower rates by tapping multiple sources of power, including a considerable portion from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
Peco has been plagued with complaints of poor service and customer case and high electricity rates.
But it insists that it has upgraded its facilities and improved its services and that its rates are within the range or even lower than those charged by other power distributors in the country.
The company insists that it will pursue the renewal of its franchise and has no plans to sell its assets to More Power.
A bill filed on July 31, 2017, providing for the renewal of Peco’s franchise to another 25 years did not prosper after being submitted to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises. /atm
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