Iloilo utility slams PECO

August 04, 2020
Electric and Power Corporation

ILOILO City’s power utility More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) yesterday slammed the old utility Panay Electric Co. for allegedly misinforming the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the power outage numbers in Iloilo City.

“PECO manipulated the MORE numbers to artificially inflate the figures. PECO not only double counted, it counted one brown-out period 16 times. PECO included in its count two brown-outs that did not happen. PECO also counted a longer period than the actual period of brown out,” claimed MORE Power in its reply to a petition filed by PECO with the ERC requesting the restoration of its certification of public convenience and necessity.

MORE Power responded to the allegations of PECO that Iloilo City experienced 1,424 minutes of power outages from February 29 up to July 16, 2020 based on MORE Power’s Facebook updates.

PECO claimed MORE Power’s own social media report showed that the accumulated power outages for this period was much higher than the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) of PECO for the same period in 2019.

In reaction, MORE Power accused PECO of misinforming the ERC because it allegdly engaged in “multiple counting” which is not in accordance with the mandated method of recording interruptions under ERC Resolution No. 12, Series of 2008 (A Resolution Adopting the Guidelines for the Monitoring of Reliability Standards for Distribution Utilities).

Under MORE Power’s watch from February 29 to July 16, 2020, there have been a total of only 182.13 hours of power interruptions and not 412.20 hours as falsely alleged by PECO.

“PECO inflated the figures by counting multiple times a single interruption event,” MORE Power claimed.

MORE Power said discrepancies appear in the computation of PECO which resulted in additional 230 hours of interruptions that were “falsely included to inflate their computation.”

MORE Power added it has achieved a much better SAIDI than PECO and PECO wrongly compared the inflated 1,424 power outage minutes under MORE to PECO’s claimed SAIDI of 629 power outage minutes for the same period in 2019.

Under ERC rules, scheduled outages are also excluded in the determination of the reliability index of MORE Power.

“Scheduled outages contributed a large portion of the duration of the power interruptions under MORE. These scheduled outages were necessary because of the need for urgent maintenance works on various aspects of the dilapidated distribution system that MORE took over from PECO,” MORE Power said.

Of the 182.13 hours of interruptions from February 29 up to 20 July 2020, more than 50 percent was due to scheduled power interruptions by MORE.

“These interruptions were utilized by MORE to undertake much needed maintenance on the Feeders and Substations in Iloilo City. These Feeders and Substations were in a dilapidated state due to the failure of PECO to maintain them properly,” the company said.

Other interruptions resulted from scheduled or unscheduled outages on lines or substations owned by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) or from a generator,  force majeure and other factors such as defective equipment that MORE Power inherited from PECO.

Defective equipment comprises of primary wire down, neutral wire down, sagging primary and neutral wires; rotten and leaning poles, broken cross-arms; busted fuse; damaged pin insulators; among others.

“All these defective equipment resulted to about 51.57 hours of interruptions. As we stated before, these defective equipment are all part of the distribution system that MORE took over from PECO and are attributable to the poor or non-existent maintenance of PECO while it was operating the said distribution system,” it said.

MORE Power added that PECO claims that it had been conducting Preventive Maintenance Services (PMS) on the five substations in Iloilo City on various dates “are false, misleading and inaccurate.”

“The claim of PECO that it had conducted scheduled preventive maintenance on its substations is belied by the fact that in laboratory tests commissioned by MORE in April 2020, barely a month after it had taken over the substations from PECO, the dissolved gas analysis showed dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the main insulating oil tanks in three of the substations (Jaro, Gen. Luna and La Paz) and dangerous levels of Carbon Dioxide in Jaro,” MORE Power said.

At the same time, PECO allowed three of its substations to breach 80% loading and another to breach 90% which shows that PECO was not a good and prudent operator of the distribution system in Iloilo City and was not operating the same in accordance with the rules of the ERC

“Despite its supposed 95 years of experience in operating the distribution system, PECO did not prepare or initiate any substation capacity additions prior to 2020 when it should have predicted that the 70% threshold would be breached,” MORE Power said.

More Power said PECO should have filed Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) applications with the ERC way back in 2018 or 2019 at the most for additional transformer capacity that would be ready by 2020 when the 70 percent threshold would be breached.

“The last CAPEX application filed by PECO before the Honorable Commission was way back in 2011. This again shows that PECO did not undertake any major CAPEX programs for the improvement of the distribution system in Iloilo City in violation of the rules and regulations of the Honorable Commission and in violation of its mandate to be a good and prudent operator of the said distribution system,” the company said.