Iloilo City demands PECO ouster

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The tons of consumer complaints from Iloilo City residents over a utility firm’s penchant for overbilling its customers, its arrogance when dealing with complaints and the danger presented by its ancient transmission facilities, including half-fallen transmission poles and “spaghetti wires” that dot the skyline caused Panay Electric Co. (PECO) to lose the bid to renew its congressional franchise, a city official said on Monday.

In an interview, Iloilo City Councilor Joshua Alim said the city gave the utility firm the opportunity the past 96 years to improve its services but ignored consumer complaints and went on providing arrogant service because of its status as a monopoly.

He said PECO received some 1,800 consumer complaints on overbilling and frequent power outages that forced the business community to commission a study identifying what PECO should do for more efficient operations and lower its rates.

“Despite constant criticisms aired on radio, despite many complaints about the bad quality of its service, and despite frequent power outages, PECO has done nothing to be a better service provider. The complaints (were) all for naught,” Alim said.

He cited the case of ship captain Hazel Fernandez, who is often out of the country on maritime assignments but monitored his electric meter with a video camera to determine if indeed PECO’s meter readers actually checked his electricity consumption and was not just guessing as many suspected.

Fernandez felt bad because while he barely consumers electricity PECO still sends him high monthly billings.

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