5 success qualities of MORE Power in Iloilo was shared by President and CEO Roel Z. Castro to business leaders who attended the 31st Visayas Area Business Conference of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Ormoc City.
More Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) is now in full throttle two and a half years after it took over operations of power distribution in Iloilo City.
The power utility has gradually realized its modernization blueprint. It poured in needed capitalization to upgrade facilities, procure new equipment, mainstream modern digital technology to its operations, advanced personnel capacity, preemptive social responsibility, strengthened its consumers’ services, and it launched an aggressive campaign against power theft and illegal connection to name but a few of the simultaneous events that defined the short two years of its operations.
The unprecedented success of MORE Power has redounded to an improved power situation; better quality of service; increased confidence of business and investors; and it trickled down to the household level in the form of low monthly rates.
5 success qualities of MORE Power worth emulating
According to MORE Power’s President and CEO Roel Z. Castro, there was no magic formula, but commitment and determination to realize its promises to the Ilonggos propelled its success.
But everything is a work in progress for MORE Power and Castro outlined the five success qualities of MORE Power to an eager Visayas business stakeholders.
For a highly technical and heavily-regulated industry such as the power sector, it was not an easy feat for MORE Power. It rather demanded the right balance of financial capability, technical competency, innovative mindset, social responsibility, and sustainability.
The utility was aware of the neglectful attitude of the former service provider. Hence, to increase capacity and reliability, MORE Power plowed in an initial P1.3 billion to rehabilitate facilities, train personnel, implement automation, and tap into power generation that offered beneficial rates to consumers.
1. Financial capability
Financial capability and technical competency go hand-in-hand. These two factors were considered critical elements by MORE Power considering the salvaging of an antiquated utility that was in total disrepair at the hands of former owners.
Rehabilitation of facilities side-by-side upgrading of equipment and integrating all of these into an automated and digitalized system of operations required an initial P1.3 billion capital outlay.
Financial capability translated into the replacement of old wooden electric poles, distribution lines, meters, and transformers.
Substations were rehabilitated or were replaced by new transformers while new a substation was established in areas of development with high-density power demand like the Megaworld.
The most recent of which is the groundbreaking of the Iloilo City proper’s 33 years old power proper substation and control center in August this year.
To beef up the capacity of the business and heritage district, the power utility will replace the 1989 20MVA power transformer with a new 33MVA power transformer. The facility will be integrated with modern hardware and software using a SCADA system which has the ability to be remotely controlled giving an improved response time during disruptions.
The project contractor HANSEI Corp. was also pleased to be part of the efforts of improving Iloilo City’s power infrastructure.
For 2022 to 2025, an additional P1.1 billion capital infusion was approved, bringing the total financial investment to P3-billion.
2. Technical Competency
Technical competency was a vital investment component for its success. We recruited personnel with high-level integrity and technical expertise, and we also employed reputable contractors with a good track record and who possess long technical experience in the industry, shared Castro.
In spite of that, MORE Power continuously upgrades the competency of its frontline personnel to improve the alertness of its power substation tenders to the hazards of work including basic safety training for its business stakeholders like major construction firms operating in the province of Iloilo and in the island of Panay.
For MORE Power, technical competency also means upholding labor and standards, and safety education for all its employees from the top down, including third-party contractors and service providers.
Ensuring technical competency resulted to a remarkable 1-million safe man-hours for MORE Power last June showing no personnel injury or work-related accident despite the intensive work since February 2020.
3. Innovative Mindset
An innovative mindset also served as a key to the success of MORE Power, highlighted Castro.
The innovative mindset of MORE Power resulted in a series of rates reduction last year which is now well-appreciated with the rise of fuel prices and fluctuation of costs that affected power rates.
Mid-2021, Iloilo City consumers experienced a drop in power rates after MORE Power innovated on sourcing power from generators that offer competitively low rates. It also initiated a technical innovation for long-term impact by reconnecting to the Visayas power grid managed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), and by establishing a 69-kilovolt transmission station in Brgy. Banuyao, LaPaz to open up access to the Unified Leyte Geothermal Plants free from VAT, and eventually gain access to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
4. Social Responsibility
Social responsibility is an important factor, said Castro, and since this is second nature to the power utility it greatly contributed to its success.
Since coming into Iloilo City, MORE Power is now the most proactive private company in terms of social responsibility efforts from COVID-19 response to the City Government, sending technical rehab teams to typhoon-hit areas for power restoration; Iloilo River clean-up, discharge of fingerlings, and mangrove planting; arts, culture, and tourism campaigns; biking and mobility; heritage and public plaza rehabilitation and restoration – you name it.
It harnessed cooperation and partnership with local and national leaders for the benefit of consumers. Last month, MORE Power enabled free electricity connection for 2,000 household through the assistance by Senator Bong Go as facilitated by Congresswoman Jam-Jam Baronda and Mayor Jerry Trenas.
Sustainability is the way to the future and this is embedded in the psyche of MORE Power.
We optimized the use of renewable energy and non-indexed sources, by consciously looking for facility and process solutions that would bring less destruction to the environment, and by constantly inculcating the benefits of sustainability to employees and the other stakeholders”, concluded Castro.
Castro pointed out that there was no magic used to be able to experience what Iloilo City consumers enjoy now.
These qualities gained the attention of other municipalities in Iloilo and MORE Power is now on its way to expand services to 16 towns.