MORE Minerals Corporation has no concrete plan when it assumes the lower distribution of Iloilo City this January 2019 granting its franchise is signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was revealed during the technical working group (TWG) meeting called at the Senate to facilitate the transition of power distribution from Panay Electric Company (PECO) to the new player.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked Roel Castro, MORE president, of their timeline in putting up an office, facilities that include plants, poles, power supply contracts and more importantly, consumer contracts as the franchise of PECO nears its expiration and the most Castro can give is a general answer that they are working on it.
A power distribution vacuum could happen in Iloilo City if more gets a signed franchise but fails to take-over the assets of PECO.
Castro failed to provide the necessary timeline prompting Gatchalian to ask the Energy Regulatory Commisson (ERC) of its plan. ERC proposed a two-year transition period.
The timetable of ERC, however, was opposed by Councilor Joshua Alim who said a transition could take only four to six months.
But Alim failed to provide a proposal on how it will be done except stating his classic “Dream, Believe, Succeed” political statement that two years is ‘too much for the suffering people of Iloilo City’.
It was Alim who gathered 25000 signatures in his petition against PECO whom he submitted to ERC stating that such huge number is the representation of complaints against the city’s power distributor. Of the number, only 175 were verified and a total of 170 has been addressed already.
Alim is running for the city’s lone congressional post and has since been very noisy in his campaign against PECO.
PECO has formally tendered its intention not to attend the TWG meeting which MORE failed to anticipate thus literally closing the possibility of a smooth transition in case.
The transition could happen only under three circumstances. First, PECO will voluntarily give up their fight and sell their assets. Second, PECO will not raise their cause on the courts and third, an expropriation proceedings will succeed against PECO.
“Impossible!” was the stern statement of Atty. Inocencio Ferrer the legal counsel of PECO.
‘We will not sell our assets and we will fight them ul to the Supreme Court,” he added.
PECO’s non-cooperation will render the ‘broad day light robbery’ attempt by MORE and a take over of its assets a failure.
PECO has already assured the public pending its legal battle and franchise renewal push, they will not compromise the power distribution around the city.
MORE, a mining firm with zero experience in the power business, grabbed the approval of their franchise application in both the senate and the house leaving the franchise renewal application of PECO behind.
It has since then converted its name into MORE Electric and Power Corporation. IMT