Public utilities and politics

MAYBE, this is about the last piece we will write about Panay Electric Company’s (PECO) and MORE Electric and Power Corp.’s (MORE Power) conflicting sides because the expiry date of PECO’s franchise is getting near and the brownouts are coming…

For a brief review of facts, PECO, the power supplier for Iloilo for 95 years, has applied to renew its franchise in Congress for 25 years since 2017 but the application got stuck in the Legislative Franchise committee of the House of Representatives without action up to now.

On the other hand, newly organized MORE Power filed its application to serve the same area applied for by PECO one year later, but the franchise was awarded fast to this new applicant!

Now, what will happen since MORE does not own even just one electric post to start with?

This next action is more painful, according to our barber when we had our haircut last week. With the endorsement of Congress to the President for approval of MORE Power’s franchise, if signed by the latter into law, the new franchisee will be authorized to take over the power lines of PECO, including whatever other installations that it may need to continue operation, with the discretion to discard anything it does not find useful. How much compensation will PECO get?

PECO reports that it has fitted out 450 kms of electrical lines, 20,000 poles, and 1,300 distribution transformers serving over 64,000 homes and businesses in Iloilo City.

How lucky can one get. For example, income from 64,000 homes mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, say, with a billing of only P1,000 from each it will be a collection of P64-million per month!

In the Philippine “concept” of doing big business, one must have someone in Congress for support and back-up. We do not know if PECO has cultivated any political connections all these years. On the other hand, Mr. Enrique Razon of MORE Power, with a net worth of P203 billion, has no less under his wings the National Unity Party (NUP).  NUP has 21 incumbent congressmen and nine provincial governors affiliated with it.

In justice to PECO in its service to Iloilo for 95 years, even with some shortcomings, we wish that its application for franchise renewal filed one year ahead than MORE Power’s must at least be heard in Congress. If PECO, for whatever reason, cannot qualify for franchise renewal after proper hearing, then let us welcome the next franchisee with open heart.

We think that is just being fair and democratic. It is also strictly business and no politics.


Here is another another story for your entertainment by your kerosene lamp in case of brownout:


There is a beggar stationed in front of the Philippine Veterans Bank where I pass everyday to go to work. One afternoon after receiving my pay, I gave him a P100 bill.  I felt great. He was very thankful and called all the saints in heaven to bless me.

However, the next time I passed I had only a P2 bill in my pocket and gave it to him. As soon as I turned my back I heard him say “Kuriput!”


Historical Quote of the Week

“Iloilo is the first province to be declared a model in development planning by NEC/USAID.” (For comments or re-actions,  please e-mail to


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