By Louine Hope U. Conserva, Correspondent
ILOILO CITY — MORE Minerals Corp., a subsidiary of tycoon Enrique K. Razon Jr.’s Monte Oro Resources and Energy, Inc. (MORE), assured it is capable of providing power distribution services as it seeks a congressional franchise for Iloilo City.
Officials of the company, which has been renamed MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MEPC), said they are technically, operationally, and financially capable to handle power distribution.
“Its primary purpose has already been amended — from mining to electric distribution,” MEPC President and Chief Executive Officer Roel Z. Castro said in a press briefing held on Tuesday evening.
Mr. Castro said the new name and other changes were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 21.
At the briefing, Mr. Castro also introduced some members of the MEPC management team, including Amador T. Guevarra, chief operating officer; Ed Ceraspe, chief technical officer; and legal counsel Cyril del Callar.
Mr. Gueverra is currently general manager of Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PELCO II), while Mr. Ceraspe was with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and has a 30-year experience in engineering and transmission systems.
“So if we talk of technical and operational capabilities, I think there is no question of that,” Mr. Castro said.
In terms of financial strength, he said MEPC currently has P2 billion in its account.
In terms of ownership, Mr. Castro said, “It’s the same set of shareholders that we have that was part of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines that won the bid for $3.95 billion.”
Should the company get final approval for the franchise, Mr. Castro said they are prepared to roll out new infrastructure as well as negotiate with existing distributor Panay Electric Company, Inc. (PECO) for “just compensation of assets.”
He assured Iloilo City consumers that they will deliver “the best” service while addressing such issues as over-billing that has hounded PECO.
The Private Electric Power Operators Association (PEPOA), an umbrella organization of private power distributors, has opposed the franchise application filed by MEPC.
The Iloilo City government also wants to participate in the House of Representatives’ deliberations on MEPC’s franchise application.
“I could understand that there is such apprehension. As much as possible we want it to be smooth and we will do the best that we can. At the end of the day, the regulators will make sure that the service to consumers is not compromised,” he said.