POLE FIRES PERSIST: BFP-Iloilo City records five more during holiday season

first_imgCongress instead granted MORE Electricand Power Corp. (MORE Power) a 25-year power distribution franchise. There is,however, a two-year transition period to ensure uninterrupted service toconsumers, thus the CPCN to PECO. Meanwhile, power distributionfranchise holder MORE Power stated in a statement:  “We no longer have to accept these fires as atypical occurrence around the city. We now have an option. There is a newdistribution utility looming to take over to deliver what PECO failed toprovide its consumers — better customer relations, adequately maintained lines,adequate investment in distribution facilities, less distributor-related poweroutages, prompt restoration of power services, and MOREKOREK billings.” PECO and MORE Power are locked in alegal battle. PECO is questioning the legality of MORE Power’s franchise. Thecase is now with the Supreme Cour. The tolerance of illegal connectionsor “jumper” was also a culprit to the fires caused by faulty electricalconnections, it added. BFP clarified that only electricalcables could cause fires and not telephone or cable TV wires, contrary toPECO’s justification. * Remonville Subdivision, BarangayTabuc Suba, Jaro on Jan. 2. All of these electricity pole fireshappened at night, according to the BFP. Fortunately there were no reportedinjuries or deaths. ANOTHER FIRE. This electricity post on Remonville Subdivision in Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City caught fire on Jan. 2. Residents were thankful that firemen responded quickly enough. The fire was prevented from spreading. The ERC eventually came out with itsfindings: PECO’s protective devices were not properly rated and designed, someof its poles were leaning and in unsafe positions, and that some electricitymeters were clustered and installed in an Elevated Metering Center withoutsecuring prior ERC approval. ILOILO City – Electricity pole firespersist in this southern city. During the holidays there were five suchincidents from Dec. 23, 2019 to Jan. 2, 2020 and according to the Bureau ofFire Protection (BFP) the poles belonged to Panay Electric Co. (PECO) whosepower distribution franchise expired on Jan. 19, 2019 yet. * on Guzman Street, Mandurriaodistrict on Dec. 25 PECO was then ordered to explain thesewhich ERC considered as operational lapses. * in front of the barangay hall onLocsin Avenue, Barangay Tacas, Jaro district on Dec. 30 Congress refused to extend PECO’sfranchise due to numerous consumer complaints arising from its ageingdistribution system, including leaning electric poles, spaghetti-like hangingelectricity lines, overbilling, and unprofessional handling of consumercomplaints. BFP data showed the pole fires to bein the following areas: * in front of the transport terminalin Barangay Ticud, La Paz district on Dec. 23 It added: “A quick tour around thecity would reveal spaghetti lines, lopsided poles, and electric meters stuck inelectric poles from top to bottom…a picture of disaster waiting to happen…Whendid PECO actually spend for expansion and upgrades not only to accommodate thegrowing power needs of the city but to improve its services to the ordinaryIlonggos?” The reasons for these police fireincidents were dilapidated and ageing wooden poles and electrical wires andoverloaded transformers of the 95 years old power utility PECO, according tothe BFP. According to Iloilo City fire marshalChristopher Regencia, of the 461 fire incidents recorded here in 2019, nearlyhalf or 218 cases were pole fires. The rest were structural fires (121),rubbish fires (37), and vehicular fires (nine), among others. Two months ago the Energy RegulatoryCommission (ERC) conducted an investigation on the series of pole fires hereupon the prodding of Mayor Jerry Treñas who had expressed concern over thepossible threat to public safety of “inadequately-maintained lines, poweroutages and hazardous electric posts.” * entrance of Juntado Subdivision,Zone 3, Barangay Calumpang, Molo district Franchise-less for almost a year now,PECO is operating merely by virtue of a provisional Certificate of PublicConvenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued by ERC. MORE Power, on the other hand, filedan expropriation case against PECO to take over the latter’s power distributionsystem. The case is currently being heard at the Regional Trial Court, Branch35 here./PNlast_img

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