By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—Despite a fight over a government franchise, the Department of Energy (DOE) assured that consumers will not be affected by the power supply distribution in Iloilo City.
“Regardless what the decision of the Congress will be, the services will continue,” assured DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella.
This us amidst concerns of looming power disruption in Iloilo City as Congress has yet to make a final decision—whether to renew the franchise of current distributor Panay Electric Company (PECO) or grant a franchise to new player MORE Electric and Power Corp. (formerly More Minerals Corp.)
Speaking at the E-Power Mo program in Iloilo City, Fuentebella said that a constitutional provision states that the government can takeover a power distribution utility during emergency cases.
“How we can implement it is another question,” Fuentebella told Manila Bulletin.
Fuentebella added that Secretary Alfonso Cusi wants DOE to look at options if the power franchise issue is not resolved.
Owned mostly by the Cacho family, PECO has distributed power since 1923. With its franchise expiring in 2019, PECO has faced public opposition for its insufficient and unfriendly services.
PECO’s application for franchise renewal has been stalled at the Lower House while MORE Electric’s application is gaining ground.
With less than three months to go before PECO’s franchise will expire, there are talks that PECO’s assets and facilities will be acquired through expropriation.
“We don’t want that to happen. We hope the issues will be settled. We want a peaceful and smooth resolution with the stakeholders,” appealed Fuentebella.