MORE Power vs PECO: Court to hear application for writ of possession

ILOILO City – Regional Trial Court (Branch 37) is set to hear the petition for writ of possession filed by More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) against Panay Electric Co. (PECO) on June 13 at 2 p.m.

The pairing judge of RTC Branch 37, Judge Oliver Gelvezon, will preside the hearing as Judge Marie Yvette Go is going on a study leave. But it was Go who set the hearing date in an order issued on May 30.

MORE Power, the new power distributor here, is seeking to take over serviceable power distribution assets of PECO whose franchise expired on Jan. 19, 2019.

On March 11 this year MORE Power filed a petition at the RTC here for the expropriation of these assets.

The petition was filed five days after PECO asked the RTC in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila to issue a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against MORE Power and all government agencies tasked to implement Republic Act 11212 which is MORE Power’s franchise law.

On March 12, the Mandaluyong court issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping MORE Power from, among others, commencing expropriation proceedings against PECO’s power distribution assets.

However, a week after, MORE Power was able to secure a 60-day TRO from the Court of Appeals’ Special 17th Division against the 20-day TRO granted to PECO.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granted PECO an authority to operate even without a franchise – through a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity which is a working permit or operating license required of power distributors – because MORE Power still has no power distribution system of its own.

ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera, however, stressed that its issuance of a CPCN must not be construed as extending the franchise of PECO.

According to ERC, a CPCN was issued to PECO “to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity in Iloilo City.” Its decision was contained in an order dated May 21, 2019.

“Under the law, we (the ERC) are authorized to grant PECO the necessary provisional CPCN during the interim period or until More Electric and Power Corp., the legislative franchisee, has established and can fully operate its own distribution system,” stressed Devanadera. /PN


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