ILOILO City – More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) has expressed intention to join the city government’s auction of Panay Electric Co.’s (PECO) properties on Dec. 12.
This way, MORE Power can help the city government raise needed funds for basic social services, said Roel Castro, president of the power distribution utility which has a 25-year franchise in Iloilo City.
The city government will be auctioning, among others, PECO’s 20,000 wooden and concrete posts, electric meters, transformers, electrical cables, and other power distribution equipment to offset real property taxes that the company failed to pay for several years.
“Kawawa naman ang city na for many years hindi binabayaran. Kaya we will participate and pay more than the floor price so the city can use the funds already for its social services,” said Castro.
No less than Mayor Jerry Treñas announced that city government will be holding a public auction for P90-million worth of PECO assets.
This is the city government’s legal step against the power distributor for refusing to pay long overdue real property taxes, he said.
The unpaid real property taxes go back to two past city administrations, said Treñas. Multiple demands for payment were made but these went unheeded.
These resulted to the nonrenewal of PECO’s business permit this year, added Treñas.
Also in his recent statements, the city mayor stood firm that he won’t negotiate with PECO and insisted that it pay P98 million in real property taxes to the city government.
Trenas said he would use the said amount for, among others, the improvement of city hall.
PECO has not been issued a business permit for failing to settle its real property taxes.
Its franchise actually expired on Jan. 19, 2019 and Congress refused to grant it another one, citing consumers’ complaints of, among others, poor customer relations, inaccurate or wrong billings and high rates.
On Feb. 14, 2019 President Rodrigo Duterte signed MORE Power’s franchise law, Republic Act 11212.
What PECO only has is a provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission as provided in the franchise of MORE Power to ensure uninterrupted service to consumers during a two-year transition period.
It also filed several court cases against MORE Power’s expropriation of its distribution assets.
MORE Power aims to take over the system and implement a P1.7-billion improvement and rehabilitation within five years./PN