Marcelo Cacho, head of Panay Electric Co.’s Public Engagement and Government Affairs, briefs reporters on Nov. 14, 2019 in Makati City during a press conference that the Energy Regulatory Commission has distanced itself from. PECO, whose franchise expired on Jan.19 this year, failed to convince Congress to renew it on the heels of mountingconsumer complaints on the poor quality of its service. ERC investigated the pole fires afterreceiving a complaint from Mayor Jerry Treñas. Criticizing the press conference,Devanadera stressed, “Prematurereporting of the outcome of our investigation is but a product of speculationthat serves no purpose, except to confuse the public.” “Thefindings of the technical team will be presented to the Commission on Monday(today, Nov. 18) and released to the public accordingly,” said Devanadera. ERC remains independent in thedischarge of its functions, including the conduct of investigations, stressedChairperson Agnes Devanadera. “It would be prudent for theCommission to evaluate and analyze the situation surrounding the reported polefire incidents holistically and not on a per incident or asset basis. The waythat the poles are maintained over the years and the remaining useful life ofthe poles also need to be looked into. We are mindful of the urgency ofresolving this matter and we wish to assure the public that this is among thepriority concerns of the Commission,” said Devanadera. Days before the press conference, PECO,through its legal team Divina Law, invited members of the Metro Manila mediastating, “The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has conducted an investigationon the maintenance of the distribution lines of Panay Electric Co. (PECO)to shed light on the situation. They recently completed the investigation andwe are pleased to invite you to a press briefing of PECO and its counsel,the Divina Law, on Nov. 14, Thursday, 10 a.m. so that we would be able to sharethe results of the findings and the outcome of the ERC hearing.” “The ERChas no participation, in any manner, in the said (Nov. 14) press conference,”stressed Devanadera. Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)records submitted to the ERC showed that from Jan. 1, 2014 to Oct. 29, 2019 atotal of 2,887 fire incidents occurred in Iloilo City, with pole firesnumbering 1,464 cases, or 51.187 percent of all fire incidents during thealmost six-year period. ILOILO City – The Energy RegulatoryCommission (ERC) slammed Panay Electric Co. (PECO) for making it appear thatthe agency was part of a recent press conference that the franchise-less powerdistributor held in Metro Manila. ERC has completed its field inspection and data gathering on theseries of pole fire incidents in this city. ERC dispatched an inspection team inthe first week of November. It looked into the various aspects ofPECO’s distribution system. The Commission likewise directed PECO to submit a written comprehensivereport on the pole fire incidents. “In the past few days, we are alarmedto have received information that multiple fires broke out all over the city ofIloilo, the causes of which were directly attributable to poorly-maintainedfacilities owned by PECO,” read part of Treñas’ letter to the ERC. Iloilo City fire marshal ChiefInspector Christopher Regencia reiterated that telecommunications companies’wires usually carry a 24-volt charge as opposed to PECO wires which has a220-voltage charge and said, “Only electricity wires, either damaged oroverloaded, can cause fires and not telephone or cable TV wires.” Two hundred and twenty-four pole firesoccurred out of the 427 fire incidents in 2014, while 228 cases of pole fireshappened in 2015, 303 cases in 2016, 275 incidents in 2017, and another 233pole fires in 2018.A total of 201 pole fires erupted in the city from January to Oct. 27, 2019. According to Devanadera, “the partiesconcerned have been summoned by the Commission to shed light on theseincidents” on Oct. 30. It is currently operating on aprovisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the ERCuntil the new distribution utility, More Electric and Power Corp., completesits full takeover of the city’s distribution system./PN During the press conference, PECOhad a projector screen that flashed “PECO ERC PRESSCON, an enlightened past, abright future.”
Real Madrid advanced to the Liga ACB semi-finals on Sunday, after routing Herbalife Gran Canaria.The league’s most successful club with 31 titles are on track to continue their domination of Spanish bastketball’s domestic league, joining Barcelona (19 titles) in the semi-finals.Sergio Rodriguez (26 points) and Sergio Llull (22) helped power Real to a 93-86 game two win at Gran Canaria Arena, progressing from their best-of-three series 2-0.Gustavo Ayon (10 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double performance for the Spanish capital club, while Albert Oliver (18 points) top-scored for Gran Canaria.Real Madrid will play either Bilbao or Valencia in the final four, with that series set for a game three on Monday.The semi-finals and finals in the Spanish domestic basketball league are best-of-five-match series.