THE ILOILO City government, in a letter addressed to the Office of the President, has raised safety concerns over the alleged inadequately maintained distribution lines owned by Panay Electric Co., Inc. (PECO). “While the attention of PECO had been repeatedly called (by the Office of the City Mayor) to address the (complaints), the city is still plagued by the same problems,” Mayor Jerry P. Treñas wrote to Malacãnang. The complaint is the latest development in the tussle for control between PECO, the city’s longtime power distributor, and new player MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power). PECO has been distributing power in the city for 95 years, but failed to get a renewal of its congressional franchise last year. MORE Power now holds the franchise. Over the weekend, the camp of MORE Power said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had been briefed by the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on the safety violation incidents involving PECO. MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro said they are worried that the electric pole fires and the prolonged power outage last week despite restoration of supply from the national electricity grid could be part of PECO’s effort to sabotage full transition of the distribution system to his company. Mr. Treñas asked the Office of the President to direct the ERC to address customer complaints against PECO. He enumerated nine incidents of fire that hit PECO’s electricity poles from Oct. 19 to 21 alone, based on the BFP’s report to city hall. The Iloilo City mayor said he was “obliged to take the necessary steps to address the needs of the people considering that the problems and complaints raised against PECO have direct impact not only on the property but to the lives of the residents of Iloilo City.” — Victor V. Saulon