November 18, 2018 at 11:10 pm
Iloilo has highest electricity rate among PH urban centers. Iloilo City residents pay the highest electricity rate among urban dwellers in the Philippines, including Metro Manila, as shown by a comparison of electricity rates charged residential customers by local distribution utilities, according to Ted Aldwin Ong, chairman of the Freedom from Debt Coalition-Iloilo.
A study of residential electricity rates in the cities of Davao, General Santos, Tacloban, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Manila showed that Iloilo City’s predicament did not change eight years after FDC-Iloilo found in a similar study that Iloilo suffered from the highest residential electricity bills not only in the Philippines but in the entire world.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises took note of the study done by the FDC-Iloilo in 2010 and the existing rates when it started public hearings on the franchise application of More Electric Power Corp.
In his 2010 study, Ong said Iloilo City electricity rates were the highest not only in the entire Philippines but among70 other countries whose rates since 2008 were reviewed.
Ong said that in failing to resolve it status as the utility that charges the highest electricity rates in the world, PECO “… is committing a great injustice to the Ilonggo citizens for it has repeatedly failed to justify why its rates are skyrocketing yet its quality of service is way below par.”
The Iloilo City Council had passed a resolution asking Congress to remedy the situation by denying the existing franchise holder, Panay Electric Co., a new franchise and allow other new players to improve electricity service in Iloilo City.
City Council members also submitted to the House and the Senate a petition signed by 29,000 verified Iloilo City residents seeking the denial of PECO’s application for a new franchise when its existing franchise expires on January 18, 2019.
More Power president and CEO Roel Castro said his company will lower Iloilo City electricity rates by modernizing the existing transmission system and network, which will raise distribution efficiency and lower operating costs.
Based on the latest review of the power rates in the same cities as of August 2018, or eight years after FDC-Iloilo came out with its study, it was found that residents of Iloilo City paid P12.0917 per kilowatthour of electricity distributed by the utility firm PECO, still the highest in the Philippines.
In comparison, residents of Davao City paid P10.1228 per kwh to Davao Light & Power Co., while residents of Manila and the rest of the National Capital Region paid Manila Electric Co. P10.219 per kwh.
Those who live in Tacloban City paid a low rate of P8.9388 per kwh to the Leyte Electric Cooperative II, while those from General Santos City pay P10.2140 per kwh to the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II.
Residential electricity rates in Cebu City distributed by the Visayas
Electric Co. was P11.7247 per kwh, and those in Bacolod City were at P11.8574 per kwh.
Iloilo City Councilor R. Leone Gerochi said one reason that may have encouraged More Power to seek the electricity distribution in Iloilo City is the resolution passed by the City Council opposing the renewal of PECO’s franchise.
Gerochi said the City Council resolution passed on Nov 14, 2017 “vehemently oppos(ed) the renewal of franchise of Panay Electric Company, and let the national government takeover until such time that another qualified distribution utility may come in.”
He said among the reasons cited by the City Council in opposing PECO’s franchise renewal was PECO’s history of overcharging its customers based on cases filed by cause-oriented groups such as the FDC-Iloilo, PECO’s failure to complete the refund of the P631 million it overcharged its customers as ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), PECO’s poor customer service, erroneous and inconsistent meter readings, among other complaints, and PECO’s lack of transparency in its refusal to allow the City government particularly the City Council to review its operations in response to Iloilo City residents’ numerous complaints against the utility.
In the Senate hearing on the Iloilo City distribution utility franchise in October 22, Councilor Joseph Alim submitted a letter from a retired teacher, Mildred Jaromahum, who complained about her monthly electricity bill in March 2017 amounting to P114,375 from her usual monthly bill of P3,500, as a sample of numerous other similar complaints from PECO customers.