CONTROVERSIAL utility company Panay Electric Co. (PECO) allegedly posted profits and declared hundreds of millions of dividends to its stockholders from 2015 to 2017 despite complaints from Iloilo City residents about alleged overbilling of its consumers.
Based on alleged company declarations with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), PECO paid one of its major stockholders P51 million in 2017, up from P43 million in 2016 and P41 million in 2015.
The Cacho family owns 70% of the company, which is seeking to renew its legislative franchise as its current franchise is expiring on January 18, 2019.
It seems that PECO is having a hard time renewing its franchise before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez because of alleged complaints against the firm.
There is likewise an Iloilo City Council resolution seeking the denial of PECO’s franchise renewal and alleged complaints that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has received from Iloilo residents on alleged overbilling.
Iloilo City Councilor Joshua Alim, one of the Iloilo City officials leading the opposition to the renewal of PECO’s franchise, cited the ability of the utility firm to declare dividends while allegedly ignoring the complaints of its customer base.
“It should have given priority to addressing the complaints of its customers as it makes money and profits from the payment of city residents,” Alim pointed out.