By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor
THERE will be no power disruption in the Iloilo area despite the end of the franchise of Panay Electric Co. (Peco), the Department of Energy (DoE) said on Friday.
“Today marks the end of the franchise of [Peco],” DoE Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola said in a press conference on Friday. “The Department of Energy (DoE) would like to reassure our kababayans in Iloilo [City], La Paz, Jaro and Arevalo that there will be no power disruption despite the end of the franchise of the power service provider in the area.”
Mr. Delola said the department, along with the “energy family,” had met with Peco’s energy suppliers, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, and the Energy Regulatory Commission “to discuss the plans and the way forward for the area of Iloilo, and the areas served by Peco.”
Mr. Delola said Peco had given its assurance that its operations would continue even with the expiration of its franchise.
“They agreed to continue providing the services in Iloilo. Furthermore, Peco also affirmed its commitment to honor its obligations to its suppliers,” he said, referring to Panay Power Corp., Panay Energy Development Corp., and Palm Concepcion Power Corp.
Mr. Delola also cited Peco’s responsibilities with the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market and other service providers while it continues to operate the distribution system in its service areas.
The DoE, which held talks with Peco, pointed out that the private distribution utility may continue its services since the “certificate of public convenience and necessity” issued by the then Energy Regulatory Board, the precursor of ERC, is set to expire on May 25.
In a statement, the department quoted Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi as saying that public interest “is the primordial concern.”
“Given the crucial role of regional economies in the overall progress of the country, uninterrupted energy services in Iloilo is of utmost importance. This is based on the provisions of the Public Service Law and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001. The consumers should likewise continue to recognize [Peco] as the power distribution service provider and acknowledge their obligations,” Mr. Cusi said.
The DoE is scheduled to call another meeting next week to discuss developments on the matter.
“We are in close coordination with all concerned stakeholders, including the [ERC], to ensure that Iloilo will not be left in the dark. The entire energy family remains committed in seeking solutions that would make energy services more reliable and sustainable throughout the country,” Mr. Cusi said.