It is no secret that two rival companies are competing for power in the City of Love – veteran Panay Electric Company and contender More Electric and Power Corporation. For many years consumers have lambasted Panay Electric Company for its unreliable power supply, expensive supply rates, and hazardous ‘leaning poles’ and ‘spaghetti wires’, among many other issues.
Just recently, the Iloilo City Government got involved and addressed a letter to the Office of the President raising concerns of the ‘inadequately maintained distribution lines’ of Panay Electric Company. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treňas himself enumerated nine fire incidents involving pole fires from October 19 to 21, based on the documentation by the Bureau of Fire.
Can a new player be the answer?
In light of the recent granted franchise via Republic Act 11212, MORE Electric and Power Corporation was given a franchise to establish, operate, and maintain, for commercial purposes and in the public interest, a distribution system for the conveyance of electric power to the end users in the City of Love, Province of Iloilo, and ensuring the continuous and uninterrupted supply of electricity in the franchise area, signed into law February 14 and made effective March 6 of the same year.
However, the company was not spared from public criticism. It was accused of its lack of physical properties, especially with an existing expropriation case for Panay Electric Company assets.
As a rebuttal, More Electric and Power Corporation bared its facilities. As of date, the company claims to have an abundant supply of digital meters, meter boxes, electric poles, concrete poles, steel poles, tools and equipment, and a mobile substation. Moreover, it also leveled up its game by announcing a 1.7 billion investment after Panay Electric Company also announced a 1.1 billion investment. More assures that its investment will be for reliability improvement, system loss reduction, capacity and power quality improvement, and safety improvement.
Is Panay Electric Company losing the game?
What seemed to be the final nail in the coffin are the unpaid real estate taxes of Panay Electric Company. As of November 12, the Iloilo City Government has placed all the assets of Panay Electric Company for auction. According to City Mayor Jerry Treňas, the City Treasurer’s Office will proceed with the sale of assets valued at Php 90 million.
“I was told that this real property tax has been pending for the past two years and, well I think it’s about time that this has to be finally resolved,” states Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treňas. Moreover, Norman Tabud of the City Business Permit and Licensing Office revealed that his office has not issued a permit to Panay Electric Company due to outstanding taxes. Furthermore, More Electric and Power Corporation also announced that it will also participate in the auction slated December 12.
“The reason why we are participating is because of the city. Kawawa naman ang (We take pity on the) city na for years hindi binabayaran kaya (hasn’t been paid, so) we will participate and pay more than the floor price so the city can use the funds already for their social services,” states Roel Castro, President of More Electric and Power Corporation in an article by Business World.