ILOILO CITY – The MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), which has been granted a 25-year franchise to distribute electricity in the city, began taking over the assets of the Panay Electric Company (PECO) on Friday.
This, as the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court has served a writ of possession sought by MORE Power over the distribution assets of PECO.
The court issued an order granting the issuance of the writ of possession in favor of MORE Power last February 20.
In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Roel Castro, president, and chief operating officer of MORE Power, said the execution of the writ is the triumph of this city.
“We are very grateful that the Court upheld our position on the matter of the writ of possession. This is clearly the people’s victory in our great City of Iloilo. We have been consistent in our stand in this legal battle, confident in our position focused on the welfare of our Ilonggo consumers,” Castro said.
The court has divided the PECO properties into three categories, based on the court order.
Category A includes all properties that PECO did not contest as “distribution assets”. Category B includes the properties the court initially found as part of the “distribution assets” listed under the “distribution plant” in the Energy Regulatory Commission record and may be necessary for the operation of MORE Power. Category C lists the properties excluded in the coverage of the writ.
The writ of possession that favors MORE Power covers the properties under categories A and B, which include its opponent’s Baldoza, La Paz Substation, and Gen. Luna, City Proper Substation, and Tabuc Suba, Jaro Substation; and Meter Lab, Power Plant Building, Switchboard House located in this city’s General Luna Street.
Lawyer Allana Mae Babayen-on, legal officer of MORE Power, said in the same press conference that the execution of the writ of possession is only phase one of the expropriation case that was filed by MORE Power against PECO in March last year.
Babayen-on said phase two of the expropriation case is for the just compensation.
“The phase one is the execution of the writ. Phase two is for the just compensation. Possession is what we already had so on the second part, it is a long process because you have to get the valuation, the just valuation of the property and then MORE is obliged to pay,” she said.
Providing this city with power supply is assured as it is included in the franchise and the guidelines of the court, Babayen-on said.
“For the smooth transition, we will ensure that no interruption of electricity because for technical personnel (of PECO) who are working now will not be taken out. What we do is we will have somebody from MORE to oversee because we are responsible over the General Luna substation as of now,” she said.
Castro, meanwhile, said the employees of PECO “should be spared from this.”
He said some PECO employees approached him and asked if they would be absorbed by MORE Power.
“Some have been talking to me because they had been in probationary already so many months and the promise to them by the management of PECO that they will be regularized has never come. That’s why they approached me and asked me if they will be considered in MORE and I told them, ‘Why not?’,” Castro said.
For the consumers, MORE Power has advised that its operation of electric distribution system in this city has commenced effective 12:01 a.m. of February 28.
Electricity consumed after this date, as determined by meter reading done by authorized personnel or agents of MORE Power, should be paid and settled with MORE Power. (PNA)