Duterte not sold on Panay Electric Company ouster

November 18, 2018
Panay Electric Company

Says Panay Electric Company ‘providing good electricity’ to Iloilo.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not impressed by the effort of a cabal in Congress to hand over lock, stock and barrel, the 95-year old power supply business of Panay Electric Company (PECO), to a mining firm-turned power distributor with no established record in the business.

“Is it justified? If (PECO) is providing good electricity at gusto mo lang makaagaw ng negosyo, ang sabi ko ay huwag na,” Duterte said, in apparent reference to MORE Power, a newly-established power utility company but whose main line of business is in the mining industry.

“If (PECO) can provide everything that the city needs to improve and to develop, then hindi ako makikialam,” the President added.

The chief executive made the remarks during his visit last November 10 in Palawan, which has also been suffering from long power outage that also earned his displeasure.

Records show that while the Iloilo power franchise area of PECO suffered 1,550 minutes of outages for the entire 2017, Palawan, which is served by the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) was hit by 11,116 minutes of outages, which is 10 times the outages compared to PECO.

To ease Palawan’s long-running power woes, Duterte said he is giving Palawan officials until the end of the year to address the problem. Otherwise, the President said, he would not hesitate to expropriate both the supply and distribution of electricity in the island province in favor of other investors.

For their part PECO officials expressed: “We appreciate that the President has taken the time to look at the actual facts and records and has seen PECO as supporting the growth of Iloilo City.”
 On the other hand, the Private Electric Plant Operators Association, (PEPOA) in a statement added:

“We assume the President has seen the power reliability records in the country and where PECO stands when compared to other utilities.

“That is why he is probably not keen on a takeover since he himself knows that Iloilo City, as he mentioned, is being provided good electricity and the improvements are set in place.”

PEPOA also pointed to the “partial takeover” in 2014 of the Albay Electric Cooperative (AEC) by a big conglomerate that it said, apparently “backfired” as AEC continues to struggle to bring down the number of outages in its franchise area.

To this date, PEPOA noted, Albay Electric Cooperative still has a SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index) figure of 6,816 minutes in terms of outages.