BIG POWER SHIFT: Court OKs MORE Power takeover of PECO assets

first_imgIn a ruling dated Feb. 20, 2020 Judge EmeraldRequina-Contreras of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23 ordered the courtsheriff “to place MORE Power in possession” of PECO’s identified powerdistribution properties for expropriation and “submit a report thereof to thecourt, with service of copies to the parties pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 67of the Rules of Court.” * Bolilao, Mandurriao substation (land,buildings, and machinery) The PECO power distribution assets that thecourt identified for MORE Power’s takeover were the following: * Baldoza-La Paz substation (land includingall machineries and improvements, buildings) * Tabuc Suba, Jaro substation (land,machinery) “The primary goal of the court is a smooth andpeaceful transition of operation, to protect the public interest of the peopleof Iloilo City and its businesses, and to ensure the uninterrupted supply ofelectricity,” stressed the court. It was on Jan. 2 when thecase was re-raffled to Gaspar’s sala after RTC Branch 35’s Judge Daniel AntonioGerardo Amular inhibited, too. * Avanceña Street, Molo substation (land, andbuildings, machinery) All of these have a total assessed value ofP217,940, 870. Also to be taken over by MORE Power arePECO assets listed under the distribution plant in the Energy Regulation Commissionrecord. These include meter lab, power plant building, switchboard house withtotal assessed value of P14,792, 680. The expropriation case dragged due to PECO’s legal challenge andhopped from one court to another. Requina-Contreras was the fifth judge tohandle it. It was re-raffled to her court after retiring Judge Gloria Madero of RTC Branch 29 who was supposedto handle the case – the fourth judge, in fact – deemed it proper to letanother RTC branch tackle the case. PECO had been Iloilo City’s monopoly power distributor for over 95years. MORE Power also petitioned the court to determine the reasonablevalue of PECO’s power distribution system assets for just compensation, thenorder the transfer of the ownership of these upon payment of a justcompensation.center_img * General Luna substation (machinery) Also to be taken over by MORE Power arepersonal properties directly used in the electric distribution services inIloilo City such as consumers’ electric meters, poles, transformers,transmission and distribution equipment composed of primary and secondary lineson the streets of Iloilo City, and service vehicles and equipment used directlyin the distribution, maintenance and trouble-shooting activities. PECO’s franchise expired on Jan. 19, 2019. Itfailed to secure an extension or a new one from Congress which cited the manycomplaints from consumers over, among others, erroneous billing, poor customerservice and high rates. By MORE Power’s own estimate, PECO’s power distribution system isvalued at P481,842,450. The expropriation of PECO’s assets in its favor, according to MOREPower, would allow it to “immediately address and correct poor services,overcharging, frequent brownouts, expensive rates, old and unsafe facilitiesand practices, and other service deficiencies that this city’s power users andconsumers had long suffered.” In March 2019 MORE Power asked RTC Iloilo City Branch 37 to issuea writ of possession authorizing it to take immediate control, operation, use,and disposition of PECO’s power distribution system assets. The other judge whopreviously heard the case Judge Yvette Go of RTC Branch 37./PN ILOILO City – MORE Electric and Power Corp.(MORE Power) is set to take over the power distribution assets of PanayElectric Co. (PECO) more than a year after securing a franchise from thegovernment to be this city’s power distributor. In seeking the expropriation of PECO’s assets, MORE Power citedSection 10 of RA 11212 and Rule 67 Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court authorizingit to take possession of, exercise control over, and manage and operate all ofthe power distribution assets in Iloilo City. It was on Jan. 27 when the case wasre-raffled to RTC Branch 29 of Madero after Judge Ma. Theresa Gaspar of RTCBranch 33 decided to inhibit citing her close ties to PECO owners. On Feb. 14, 2019 President Rodrigo Dutertesigned into law MORE Power’s franchise, Republic Act (RA) 11212.last_img

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