PECO welcomes city hall public complaints desk

BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA

Thursday, December 7, 2017

ILOILO City – Panay Electric Company (PECO) welcomed the city government’s establishment of a complaints desk for public utilities such as electricity and water.

“We don’t have any issues with that. In fact we appreciate that city hall is helping us,” said Mikel Afzelius, chief communications officer of PECO.

The sole power distributor in this city has been at the receiving end of complaints from consumers claiming, among others, that they have been erroneously billed.

“We are given the chance to address the complaints. At least makabuliganay kami sang city hall,” said Afzelius.

Through Memorandum Order No. 240-B, Mayor Jose Espinosa III ordered the creation of a “Public Utilities Concerns Desk” which would receive complaints against PECO and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).

MIWD has been criticized for its poor water distribution.

Under the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers, Afzelius said power distribution utilities must indeed be given the chance to address the complaints.

The Public Utilities Concerns Desk will be handled by the city government’s Customer Care Center (CCC).

All complaints made via phone calls and letters or by personally showing up at city hall will be logged and referred to the concerned public utility, said CCC executive director Eireen A. Manikan.

He assured consumers that PECO has various programs addressing various issues and concerns.

On top of a consumers’ welfare desk at PECO’s office, Afzelius said they have “a feedback mechanism sa amon website that is readily available in case the customer cannot come here (at the office).”

“We (also) have a Facebook page where we receive inquiries or complaints,” said Afzelius, “whether it is an application protest, the delivery of bills (or) the reading of meters.”

Last month, the Sangguniang Panlungsod called for the nonrenewal of PECO’s franchise, citing various consumer complaints, and pushed for a government takeover of the company until a new power distributor comes in. Over 25,000 residents also signed a petition making the same demand.

PECO’s franchise is expiring in 2019. It seeks to renew it for 25 more years.

During a recent congressional hearing on PECO’s franchise renewal, the legal counsel of the Energy Regulatory Commission said the government could not immediately take over PECO’s operation.

Should there be a power distribution utility interested to come in, a couple of years may not be enough for it to get a hang of the operation, Atty. Krisha Buela told members of the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises.

A committee member, Rep. Rene Relampagos (Bohol), told PECO, “You improve your service because that is the complaint eh.”

“PECO assures that we will do something about the problems nga ginpang-raise,” PECO vice president Randy Pastolero told Panay News after the hearing./PN