By: Tara Yap
PANAY Electric Co. (PECO) is asking the public to be patient as it implements its service improvements amidst calls of the city government to Congress to review its franchise as the only power distributor in Iloilo City.
“There is no need to review the franchise,” said Engr. Randy Pastolero, PECO vice president for operations.
City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has earlier urged Congress to review PECO’s franchise given by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) after its 20-MVA substation in Gen. Luna suffered a mini-explosion last May 2 and resulted to intermittent power blackouts.
Since then, PECO has been facing criticisms for its alleged unreliable service that resulted to P3 million in losses suffered by the city’s business community and irked local residents during that scorching summer day.
However, Pastolero considered it as an unfortunate and isolated case.
“We should not be gauged for what happened that day. The incident doesn’t define PECO’s services,” Pastolero emphasized.
“There are ways to solve this problem without having to go to a process of calling for a review of our franchise,” Pastolero added.
PECO is currently undergoing a four-year upgrade of its facilities and equipment to improve its distribution system.
It includes the implementation of its relay adjustment setting, which is designed to isolate outages in one particular substation during glitches.
“Unfortunately, the incident happened before its implementation,” Pastolero explained.
PECO is working closely with power suppliers Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) that operates the 164-MW coal-fired power plant Panay Power Corp. (PPC) that operates the 72-MW diesel fuel power plant to fully implement the relay adjustment settings.
PECO is also installing line units to protect customers from power pilferages, implementing safety measures to avert power outages caused by trees, constructing a new office building, and the creation of a communications office to address concerns of customers.
“This is not only to improve reliability of power supply, but also improving customer service,” Pastolero added.
Meanwhile, PECO President and CEO Luis Miguel Cacho publicly issued an apology for the May 2 incident and assured to improve its services in providing reliable power supply.
Mainly owned by the Cacho family, PECO is one of the oldest private power distributors in the country. It has been operating since 1923.
First Philippine Holdings Corp., a Lopez Group of Company, owns 30% of PECO.