Did MORE Power tamper PECO’s electric meter?

ILOILO City – Panay Electric Co. (PECO) has accused More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) of tampering an electric meter in Molo district.

“We have photos sang tinawo nila. Gin-cutter nila ang protective lock kay indi nila makita ana metro sa Kaplan Building sa Molo,” said Marcelo Cacho, PECO’s administrative manager.

Cacho said MORE Power would be charged with violation of Republic Act 7832 (Anti-electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994).

According to Cacho, the incident transpired on May 24 and was reported to the Molo police station.

Roberto Esog, team leader/inspector of PECO, reported to the police that at around 4:20 p.m. he discovered that PECO’s plastic seal and padlock attached to the metal blue box of their customer Five Star and Development Corp. located beside Kaplan Building in Molo district had been cut.

“They don’t own the electric meter,” said Cacho.

Reached for his comment, MORE Power spokesperson Jonathan Cabrera said they welcome PECO’s complaint.

“We welcome it if they will file a case. Para mabal-an ta ang kamatuoran parte sina,” Cabrera said.

MORE Power is the new power distributor in this city. It has secured a franchise from Congress.

PECO, which has been the power distributor here for over 90 years, failed to secure a new franchise. Its old franchise expired on Jan. 1, 2019.

The Energy Regulatory Commission, however, granted PECO a certificate of public convenience and necessity allowing it to operate until MORE Power is able to establish its own power distribution network.

PECO and MORE Power are currently locked in a legal tussle. In March, MORE Power filed a petition at the Regional Trial Court here for the expropriation of PECO’s power distribution assets.

MORE Power asked the court to issue with a writ of possession authorizing it to take immediate control, operation, use, and disposition of PECO’s power distribution system assets.

The city’s new power distributor also petitioned the court to determine the reasonable value of PECO’s power distribution system assets for just compensation, then order the transfer of the ownership of these upon payment of a just compensation.

By MORE Power’s own estimate, PECO’s power distribution system is valued at P481,842,450 – way below PECO’s previous claim that its assets were worth at least P2 billion.

“Plaintiff is ready, willing and able to deposit the amount – in a bank that the Honorable Court will designate,” read part of MORE Power’s petition.

In seeking the expropriation of PECO’s assets, MORE Power cited Section 10 of Republic Act 11212 (its franchise law) and Rule 67 Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court authorizing it to take possession of, exercise control over, and manage and operate all of the power distribution assets in Iloilo City.

The expropriation of PECO’s assets in its favor, according to MORE Power, would allow it to “immediately address and correct poor services, overcharging, frequent brownouts, expensive rates, old and unsafe facilities and practices, and other service deficiencies that this city’s power users and consumers had long suffered.”/PN


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