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Telecoms firm protests blame game on Iloilo pole fires

06:04 PM November 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines–The Visayas office of telecommunications giant PLDT protested a case of finger-pointing allegedly by Panay Electric Co. (Peco), which blamed pole fires in Iloilo City on telecommunications connections there.

In a report by Radyo Inquirer, PLDT Vice President for Visayas Rene Lescano was quoted as calling Peco a liar after the power distribution utility said telcos, or telecommunications companies, should be blamed for a series of pole fires in Iloilo City.

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Peco, according to the Radyo Inquirer report, pointed out that out of 709 pole fires in Iloilo since 2017 until last October, 571 were attributable to telecommunications connections.

Peco had blamed “messenger wires” of telecoms firms attached to electric wires for 138 of the pole fires.

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Radyo Inquirer also quoted Marcelo Cacho, Peco head of public engagement and government affairs, as saying other causes of the pole fires were secondary lines, leaks or defective transformers and illegal connections.

Lescano, according to the Radyo Inquirer report, said, however, that there was no truth to the Peco claim because PLDT owns 2,000 posts of which only 800 are made of wood while Peco has 30,000 posts.

The fires were the basis of a complaint filed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) seeking an investigation of hundreds of fires that occurred at electric posts being maintained by Peco.

Lescano also insisted that the fires were caused by electrical wires of Peco and did not originate from the poles themselves.

He added that the messenger wires connected to Peco posts do not carry electricity which could spark a fire.

This was also consistent with the findings of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) that electrical wires of Peco which had higher voltage were the cause of the fires and not wires or cables for telecommunications.

Peco has expressed suspicion that the fires were part of efforts to sabotage the company’s operations. The utility is locked in a legal battle with More Electric and Power Corp., which intends to take over Peco’s business through a newly secured congressional franchise. More Power is controlled by billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.

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With a report from Philippine Daily Inquirer
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TAGS: electricity, fires, Iloilo, poles, Telecommunications
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