By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Three power consumer groups in Bacolod City yesterday expressed their opposition over a plan of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) to hold the 43rd Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA).
In a joint resolution signed by Power Watch Negros secretary-general Wennie Sancho, Alliance of Concerned Transport In Occidental Negros chairperson Teddy Macainan and Consumers Alliance for Reform president Rodolfo Song, they said the impending holding of the assembly poses a danger to the health and lives of the consumers as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
With the Delta variant already entering Bacolod City, they pointed out holding such an event could trigger the further spread of COVID-19.
They further pointed out that holding AGMA is unnecessary, impractical, and it is not indispensable to the continuous operation of Ceneco as a distribution utility providing electricity to consumers.
The groups also said there is an urgent need to amend the constitution and by-laws of Ceneco before the holding of the AGMA in order to safeguard the rights and welfare of the consumers.
They also said there are apprehensions among the majority of the Ceneco consumers that some board members might use the AGMA as a platform to ratify their past actions and decisions which are perceived to be in violations of policies and guidelines of power industry regulators like the National Electrification Administration, Department of Energy, and the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“The manner of selecting a few who will attend the AGMA is highly questionable, as it will discriminate against the consumers who are critical of the board and management. It will not be a general assembly but a gathering of pseudo-consumer groups under the patronage and guidance of some Board members and top cooperative officials,” they said.
They also highlighted Ceneco Board member Fr. Ernie Larida, whom they said requested for a postponement of the Memorandum of Understanding between Power Watch and Ceneco citing pandemic as the reason.
“The mothballed signing involved only four people. Now Fr. Larida is joining the bandwagon for the holding of the AGMA that will involve more than 50 people? This is contrary if not inconsistent with his previous stand on the issue of pandemic,” they said.
Sancho also said they will also launch a consumer complaint’s desk, which will accept complaints from the public./DGB, WDJ