ILOILO BUSINESS Club officers led by president Tony Jon (middle, foreground) Ma. Leah Victoria Lara and Marissa Segovia (background) during the ERC hearing on Peco's petition for rate increase last DEcember 6, 2005.
ILOILO BIZMEN FEEL BLACKOUT CHILL
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
ILOILO City’s business community is in a wait-and-see mode as regards Panay Power Corporation’s (PPC) looming shutdown although they are worried with the possible blackout which is disastrous to local economy.
Members and officers of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) led by president Antonio Jon met with Mirant Global Corporation vice president for Visayas New Business Arman Lapus and PPC officials to discuss the effect of Panay Electric Company’s (Peco) rate cut to the independent power producer’s operations.
Lapus reiterated the need to return to Peco’s old rates to sustain PPC’s operation and the availability of power supply to the city.
Lapus also asked the support of the IBC for Peco’s petition to return to its old rates “so we can continue to provide our local businesses with enough power supply.”
Reached by The Guardian right after the meeting, Leah Victoria Lara, IBC executive director, said they still have to study all sides of the issue before they can make an official stand.
Lara said they did not have enough numbers to come up with an official stance on PPC’s appeal “but we are concerned by the prospect of a power blackout in the city.”
“That would not be very good for the local economy and we really want to avert such condition,” Lara said.
Lara added that the IBC will first gather necessary data for them to consider prior to making an official statement. “We have to know what the real score is and the right figures first.”
She said she will attend the December 6 hearing by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Peco’s petition to revalidate its power supply agreement with PPC.
“Whatever data we will get, I will present it to the general membership and the board of directors which will become the basis for our official statement,” Lara said.
When asked for the reason of their “academic approach” on the issue, Lara explained: “We believe there are other options aside from going back to the old Peco rates and experiencing a power blackout. There might be other people who have some idea that will come up with a win-win solution.”
Lara said the IBC also hopes the ERC will resolve the issue as soon as possible “so the local economy won’t be hampered by power loss.”
“We really want our businesses and local economy to continue running. The last thing we want is an economic meltdown due to lack of power,” she said.
Earlier city and provincial officials also expressed concern over PPC’s pronouncements and its possible effect on the economy. (Published in The Guardian, December 3-4, 2005 issue)