By Mae Singuay
The Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC) will soon take over as the new distribution utility under the joint venture agreement (JVA) entered between the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and Primelectric Holdings Inc.
Roel Castro, Primelectric/NEPC president and chief executive officer, recently told members of the media at the Bacolod City Government Center that there is a procedure to be followed before the transition to the joint venture company.
Ceneco conducted the plebiscite on June 24 and 25, August 19, 20, 26, and 27, where a majority of the cooperative’s member-consumer-owners voted “yes” for the JVA.
Castro said that after the plebiscite, the National Electrification Administration must proclaim the result of the plebiscite, which is part of the process.
He stressed that NEPC will start its operation once they have the franchise issued by Congress.
The new distribution utility will still need the certificate of public convenience and necessity, a license granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission, that will allow NEPC to take over the operations.
However, Castro is yet to confirm when the transition will be.
“It’s difficult to say, especially the franchise period. It will go through the Lower House of Congress, Senate, and the Office of the President. Medyo difficult to project. I will not speculate on that,” Castro said.
The JVA seeks to improve power distribution services in Ceneco franchise areas in Negros Occidental’s cities of Bago, Talisay and Silay, the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto, and capital Bacolod City.
Likewise, Castro said the JVA was proposed to ultimately benefit the consumers.
He also assured that under the JVA, they would meet the conditions set to them by Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, which are renewable power, cheaper rates, and better service.
“Assuming that there is already a takeover, do not expect that, in the following days, there will be no brownouts because we have to do the improvements, rehabilitation, and modernizations within five years,” Castro explained.
Currently, Primelectric/NEPC conducts a series of meetings with the management and employees of Ceneco to ensure a seamless transition./MS, WDJ