PECO decries MORE Power ‘false claims’

August 02, 2020

A revocation of the provisional certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) or the temporary license issued to MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE) had been formally sought with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for alleged deceptive tactics it applied in taking control of the power distribution system in Iloilo City; and that is even aggravated now by the extremely poor service it has been rendering to consumers in the area.

Atty Estrella C. Elamparo, legal counsel of Panay Electric Company, propounded “in line with public interest, the ERC should step in and impose a transition period whereby operations in the meantime will revert to PECO until such time that MORE is truly ready to take over.”

In the intervention-comment filed by PECO with the ERC on July 16 this year, it primarily apprised the Commission that MORE made false claims when it contended that the PECO facilities which it acquired with hostility in February were “old and dilapidated’; and even cited such as the reason for the massive brownouts being suffered by Iloilo City on a repetitive cycle.

“This is nothing but an unsubstantiated and convenient excuse by an entity whose incompetence and inexperience to operate a distribution system is now revealed in the face of recurring power outages in Iloilo City,” PECO lamented.

Atty Elamparo further highlighted the sequence of duplicity that MORE had employed, recalling that “in securing its CPCN, MORE also concealed to the ERC the existence of the Addendum issued by the RTC (regional trial court) of Iloilo which mandated that the operation of the electric distribution facility should be maintained with PECO and that there should be transition period.”

The PECO legal counsel thus opined “there is clearly a pattern of misrepresentation or deception here.”

To further debunk MORE’s claim on supposed “old and dilapidated distribution system”, PECO argued that no less than the Commission had ruled in ERC Case No. 2018-008MC, that “PECO’s distribution system is reliable in distributing electricity to the Ilonggo consumers,” expounding that the service interruption incidents that PECO logged “have been consistently maintained through the years to be within the acceptable level” and pursuant to the rules issued by the Commission.

“To say that PECO’s distribution system is old and dilapidated reeks of desperation to conceal the fact that MORE is completely incompetent and inexperienced to operate a distribution system and provide reliable electricity to the people of Iloilo City,” PECO stressed.

The ERC was further apprised that “MORE did not include in its Compliance many of the major outages it has posted in its Facebook page and declared only a total of 114.77 total hours of primary feeder level outages,” and that is deemed as another deceptive maneuver because the numbers declared by MORE to the regulators had been short of 296.91 hours compared to the actual total outages.

Citing MORE’s own data as posted in its Facebook page, PECO recounted in its filing to the ERC the “326 hours of power outages” that Iloilo City consumers had already suffered from February 29 to June 22 this year, or the duration when MORE was already the power service provider in the area. It was further stated in the filing that “if the period to be considered is extended until 16 July 2020, MORE already accumulated a shocking total of 412 hours in a matter of almost five months of operating PECO’s distribution system.”

“Since MORE’s illegal takeover of PECO’s distribution system on 28 February 2020, the said distribution system has experienced several feeder level power outages, which evinces a major degradation in the service of power distribution in Iloilo City,” PECO said.

In the recurring power outages, it was also emphasized that the technical incompetence of MORE had been vastly displayed, especially for the more than 10 hours of brownouts at the Mandurriao substation which started at 9:59 pm on June 20 and lasted until 8:48 am of June 21.

As established through the examination of MORE’s own report, PECO pointed out that “the reason for the unnecessarily long power outage was the reckless multiple energizing of the feeder lines by MORE’s inexperienced personnel and the half-baked repairs conducted on the feeder lines.”

The report also showed there had been at least seven attempts by MORE’s technical team to re-energize the line, but “after 56 minutes of being successfully energized, the Mandurriao feeder 4 tripped off again, causing a total blackout of Mandurriao substation.”

The ERC was further informed that “while MORE personnel eventually were able to find the root cause of the power outage, the series of re-energization without the conduct of proper assessment and repairs already caused numerous faults and damages in feeder 4 and the primary line segments.”

PECO also imparted to the Commission that the technical teams deployed by MORE “from the first up to the last test of energization proved to be incapable of handling such problems in the field as they failed to properly address the root cause of the problem, thus resulting to nuisance tripping and inconvenience to consumers.”

Atty. Elamparo expressed hope that the pattern of misrepresentation and inexcusable inefficiency on the part of MORE will prompt the ERC to reconsider the CPCN it granted in its favor.