*install MOREPower which may deploy its personnel to man and oversee the substations toexercise its possession and control of the distribution facilities, but theoperation should still be handled by PECO personnel who has the technicalexpertise “Since there arepresent suppliers of electricity, we instructed MORE Power to continue withthat arrangement until such time the DOE has issued the Certificate ofExemption, and until such time MORE Power has gone through the competitiveselection process so that the people of Iloilo can have the best price ever,”Devanadera added./PN Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson Agnes Devanadera Devanadera alsostressed that ERC has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine which powerdistributor has the authority to operate. Any legal issueor court case does not dilute the sole authority granted to ERC by law,specifically the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), she said. “MORE Power isnow in control of the entire distribution system. There is no choice at thispoint in time for MORE Power but to operate,” according to Devanadera. ILOILO City – TheEnergy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has already spoken on the matter of whichentity is the duly authorized power distributor in this city, according toChairperson Agnes Devanadera. EPIRA gave theCommission as a quasi-judicial entity the sole jurisdiction over the operationof electricity distribution utilities. The addendumprovided guidelines on how to go about enforcing the WPO. Among these were: Devanadera alsoclarified there is no violation even if MORE Power operates through aprovisional authority only pending the issuance of a Certificate of PublicConvenience and Necessity (CPCN) or Certificate of Exemption from theDepartment of Energy. Powerdistribution and operation of the power distribution utility are the exclusivedomains of ERC, she stressed. MORE Power has a25-year power distribution franchise in Iloilo City – Republic Act (RA) 11212signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 14, 2019. “This is anemergency. We have to issue the order to ensure that MORE Power is recognized.The primordial consideration is the continuance of electric service to thepeople of Iloilo City,” she explained. Devanadera,however, pointed out that RTC, Branch 23 is an expropriation court, thus itsjurisdiction is constrained to the expropriation case only. Therefore, shestressed, consumers must recognize the Commission’s decision – that MOREElectric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) is the sole power distributor in thecity. “MORE Power isrecognized as the only power distribution utility of Iloilo City. This shouldbe clear among parties,” Devanadera said over DyOK Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo to clearup the confusion brought about by the legal issues being raised by the previouspower distributor, Panay Electric Co. (PECO). * maintain thestatus quo of the operation so as to give time for MORE Power to orient / train/ immerse its personnel before it fully takes control of the operation PECO’s franchise,on the other hand, expired on Jan. 19, 2019. It failed to secure an extensionor a new one from Congress which cited the many complaints from consumers over,among others, erroneous billing, poor customer service and high rates. Last week, RTC,Branch 23 Presiding Judge Emerald Requina-Contreras issued an order to MOREPower and PECO to respect the Addendum to the Writ of Possession (WOP) that hercourt issued. With respect towhatever order the Iloilo Regional Trial Court, Branch 23 had issued, Devanaderasaid, ERC is standing by its March 5 order that MORE Power is the one thatshould supply electricity in Iloilo City. She also saideven if the law requires MORE Power to get a Certificate of Exemption from theDepartment of Energy (DOE) first so it could enter into supply agreements withpower generating companies, the EPIRA also allows power utilities to engage inemergency contracts with suppliers to ensure no disruption of electricityservice. “ERC is the bodythat has the exclusive authority on these matters – supply of electricity,rates. Since the ERC has spoken already, then consumers should also recognizethe order of ERC,” she stressed.