G.R. No. 248061, September 15, 2020
R.A. No. 11212 grants to MORE a franchise to establish, operate and maintain an electric power distribution system in Iloilo City. Under Section 10, MORE may “exercise the power of eminent domain” when necessary for the efficient establishment of its service. In particular, it may acquire a distribution system consisting of poles, wires, cables, transformers, switching equipment and stations, buildings, infrastructure, machineries and equipment previously, currently or actually used x x x for the conveyance of electric power to end-users in its franchise area.
The distribution system which is currently and actually being used in Iloilo City was owned by PECO, the holder of the franchise since 1922. PECO’s franchise expired on January 18, 2019, and no new franchise has been issued to it since. While PECO is allowed to operate the existing distribution system in the interim, the law provides that MORE shall not be prevented from acquiring the system through the exercise of the right of eminent domain.