ERC finds ‘operational lapses’ by Peco
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday said an investigation it conducted on the distribution system of Panay Electric Co. Inc. (Peco) found “apparent operational lapses” by Peco, related to numerous incidents of cable poles catching fire over the past two years.
The ERC said in a statement that it issued an order dated Nov. 26, directing Peco to explain why the distributor should not face administrative penalties or a criminal case.
According to the regulator, Peco violated the Philippine Distribution Code 2017 Edition, Amended Distribution Services and Open Access Rules, Amended Elevated Metering Center Rules, and ERC Resolution No. 12 issued in 2009 that laid down the guidelines for the accreditation of satellite laboratories of meter shops.
“Based on the findings of the ERC technical team that conducted the ocular inspection on the electric distribution system of Peco, the latter committed lapses in the operations and maintenance of its distribution system thereby posing danger and risks to the lives and properties of its consumers,” ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera said.
Peco was given 15 days within receipt of the order to submit its explanation.
“We need to accord Peco the opportunity to explain its side before we evaluate the extent of their liability for the operational lapses that were discovered,” Devanadera said.
She said the inspection team found that Peco’s protective devices were not properly rated and designed, and that some poles were leaning and in unsafe positions.
Also, the team found that some electric meters were clustered and installed in an elevated metering center without securing prior ERC approval.
The team also discovered that the certificate of authority for Peco’s meter shop expired on Nov. 18, but the company has not filed the application for renewal.Earlier, Peco representatives said the power distributor had submitted a report to the ERC, which showed that not all of the 709 pole fires that the Bureau of Fire Protection recorded over the past two years involved Peco’s electric poles—and thus should not be blamed solely for the problem.
According to Peco, some of the poles were owned by local telecommunications companies.
The embattled distributor is fighting to maintain its business amid efforts of the Razon group’s More Power and Electric Co. to take over based on a franchise granted by Congress.
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