MORE Power has successfully neutralized the massive power pilferage in Iloilo City in two years since it launched in July 2020 Oplan Valeria, an all-out war against illegal connections.
According to Engr. Edwin Montemayor, head of MORE Power’s System Loss Reduction Program, said system loss was as high as 28% when they took over in 2020.
System loss refers to electricity lost to technical reasons and pilferage.
The stratospheric losses prompted the launching of MORE Power’s Oplan Valeria, a massive anti-pilferage campaign.
The team of apprehension teams and engineers went to every barangay day and night, not minding if they might catch influential personalities, businessmen, government officials, or even ordinary citizens.
Montemayor said legitimate consumers were deprived of MORE Power’s services as their facilities like transformers conk out due to the massive consumption by electricity thieves.
“Sang 2020 pag-start namon, makita namon kada gab-i daw galibog amon ulo kay whole block no light. Nagalibog ulo namon ano natabo sa mga area nga ni. May mga jumper gali kadamu-damu kung gab-i. So ang nagakatabu, ang transformer nga na install dira para sa mga legal nga consumer, naga overload kay gin angutan sang mga illegal nga consumer. So ang transformer, naga trip kung gab-i. Amo na nga may mga unscheduled interruption kita sadto kun gab-i nga whole block no-light,” Engr. Montemayor added.
Initially, they discovered an average of 230 illegal connections a month. To date, the number was reduced to 10–20 cases a month.
At present, the system loss declined by a mile, at an average of just 7%. This improvement is beneficial to consumers since system loss charges, part of which are charged to legal clients, will be minimal.
According to Engr. Montemayor, vigilant consumers played a big role in the success of their campaign because residents know exactly which areas in their community have massive power pilferage and who are involved.
“So may mga tip ang mga consumer. So, kung ginakadtuan namon, kay kun kami lang, indi tanan nga mga lugar makadtuan namon. Kag indi kami kabalo sina nga ang mga lugar sina may jumper. So ang consumer gid na number one nagahatag sang benepisyo sa pagtapna sang illegal connection,” he added.
Each report is handled and treated as highly confidential to ensure that those who vigilantly support this campaign are also protected.
Power pilferage is a violation of Republic Act 7832 or Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Act of 1994.
According to the company’s legal officer, Atty. Allana Babayen-on, they filed 220 formal complaints against persons who were caught in the act of stealing electricity, 157 of which were brought to court.
The rest were granted provisional dismissal on the condition that they pay for the illegally consumed electricity.
Atty. Babayen-on clarified that MORE Power is very patient in dealing with and understanding the plight of these illegal consumers of electricity and that they make sure that due process is followed.
“After the apprehension, we sent the demand letter informing them nga nadakpan sila. Amo ni ang ila differential billing and that they would settle. Thankfully ang iban naga-settle man, very cooperative man sila and they recognize nga sala ang ila pagpangawat sang kuryente and they promise to pay. Well and good. But sometimes, may ara gid ya indi magsettle, or nagpromise magsettle or nag breach sang ila compromise. So in those cases, we file a complaint before the office of the city prosecutor,” Atty. Babayen-on said.
“Krimen ang ila nga nahimo pero wala naton sila ginakabig nga mga kriminal. Bangud ang aton gusto nga buligan sila nga ma-correct ang sala nga madugay na nila nga nakaangdan,” she added.
MORE Power helped these consumers to have legal electricity connections and even shortened the list of requirements.
The distribution utility also strengthened its partnerships with barangay officials in the total rehabilitation of the utility’s facilities and improvements of voltage capacities in exchange for their cooperation to eradicate the “jumpers” in their community.
From 62,000, MORE Power now has 86,000 legitimate consumers.
Pilferage compromises the safety of consumers. It is the root cause of household fires because electric lines get heated due to overloading.
MORE Power appreciates the support and assistance of the consumers and continues to encourage the public to sustain their cooperation and not hesitate in informing the company if there are still power pilferages in their communities.