Lawmakers call for speedy probe on Iloilo fires

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    Lawmakers have urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to fasttrack the investigation related to the complaints of Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas against Panay Electric Co.’s (PECO) alleged lapses in addressing numerous incidents of fire affecting its electricity poles in the city.

    In a statement, Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda said a formal ERC finding that proves PECO’s failure to conduct maintenance and replacement of its old distribution equipment and electricity poles could be enough basis to cancel the distribution utility’ two-year provisional Certificate of Public Necessity (CPCN) or permit to operate.

    Baronda expressed alarm on the report of the Bureau of Fire Protection to Treñas that overloading of PECO’s transformers and electricity wires hanging overhead in the city’s streets were the likely cause of nine incidents of fire in three days from October 19 to 21.

    “We do not want another fire to cost a life or property before we do a concrete action. I fully support the action taken by our mayor. Let us see what the outcome will be and when the results come out, if needed, I will raise the matter before the House Committee on Energy,” Baronda added.

    PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles, who also serves as vice-chair of the House Committee on Energy, said the ERC should exercise its power and responsibility to protect consumer interests in Iloilo.