Poe seeks Senate approval of NEPC franchise

Posted by watchmen
May 1, 2024
Posted in News



By Mae Singuay

Senator Grace Poe is pushing for the approval of House Bill (HB) 9805, which grants a legislative franchise to Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC) to operate and improve power distribution services in Central Negros Electric Cooperative’s (Ceneco) franchise areas.

Poe, the Senate committee on public services chair, endorsed the proposed NEPC’s franchise to the Senate for approval during the plenary session on Monday, April 29.

She said now is a more fitting time for the Senate to grant NEPC its franchise.

“There’s no more fitting time than today to present three measures that will ensure our power consumers’ continued access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, lalong-lalo na sa gitna ng malawakang at dumadalas na brownout at power interruptions sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa,” she said.

Poe stated that HB 9805 was borne out of public clamor for better power services in Negros Occidental.

The bill seeks to grant a franchise to NEPC, a partnership formed through the joint venture agreement between Primelectric Holdings Inc. and Ceneco.

Primelectric is the sister company of MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power), the sole power distributor in Iloilo City.

“Kinikilala natin ang mga nagawa ng Ceneco sa limang dekada nitong serbisyo sa mga member-consumers sa Negros,” Poe said.

“Undeniably, through these years, there has been remarkable growth in Western Visayas, which included Ceneco’s franchise areas,” she added.

Ceneco’s franchise areas include Negros Occidental cities of Bago, Talisay and Silay, as well as the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto, and capital Bacolod City.

However, the lady senator further said, as demand for power continues to increase, Ceneco was unable to keep up with the challenges.

Poe said Ceneco admitted its inability to rehabilitate and upgrade its facilities due to its current financial standing.

The National Electrification Administration reported that the Negros-based electric cooperative is operating at a negative profit margin and has failed to pay its debts timely.

In 2023, Ceneco was classified as a Yellow-1 electric cooperative for its poor performance on collection efficiency, systems loss, working capital requirements, and financial operations, Poe said.

Power distribution is just one of the sectors of the electric power industry, but carries more public impact as a direct distributor of electricity to end-users.

Thus, Poe said, the demand is high for these distribution utilities to fulfill their obligations as public service providers.

NEPC has expressed its readiness and willingness to invest capital to modernize the distribution system amid the difficulties and address the operational challenges.

Poe believes that this investment would benefit, not only the franchise area, but also the power sector and the Philippine economy.

“Nakikita naman natin ang nagawa ng MORE Power sa Iloilo simula nang maipasa natin ang prangkisa nito noong 2019. Consumers in its franchise area now enjoy lower rates, vast improvement in facilities, and better customer service,” Poe said.

“Ang maganda sa pagkakaroon ng kasunduang ito ay mutual ang objective ng dalawang partido na mapabuti ang serbisyo ng kuryente para sa mga Negrense,” she added./MS, WDJ


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *