Bacolod: Tempers flare at Ceneco press conference

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Bacolod City – A verbal confrontation between a member of the Board of Directors of Central Negros Electric Cooperative and the secretary general of Power Watch Negros disrupted the press conference called by the power utility firm recently in Bacolod City.

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Power Watch secretary general Wennie Sancho told Ceneco director Eugenio Velasco during an open forum that he was out-of-order, after the latter narrated the chronology of events involving charges filed against members of the BOD, particularly the case filed before the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

Velasco said Sancho filed the same charges against them, including a complaint before the President, Department of Energy (DOE) and Senator Raffy Tulfo. They are trying their best to protect the member-consumer members (MCOs) of Ceneco, as well as help the electric cooperative (EC).

He said they were not supposed to be included in the case filed by Sancho before NEA. Out of the five cases that have been dismissed, their suspension meted by NEA was not included. They appealed the case because they have a board resolution asking the DOE for a certificate of exemption, but the only problem is that KEPCO withdrew so there was no need for them to submit the resolution.

Sancho said that if the complaints he filed against the BOD were baseless, he would not have won the case he filed with NEA. So the members of the BOD were convicted for simple neglect of duty.

He said he has also requested Councilor Claudio Puentevella, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Energy and Public Utilities, to conduct another public hearing together with the Ceneco BOD, concerning the 20 megawatt power supply contract (PSC) delivered by Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC) to Ceneco on July 26.

Acting Ceneco general manager Ervin Stan Leo Ticar said they cannot stop anyone from filing charges against them and that they do not know the motive in trying to tarnish the image of Ceneco. However, they are confident that the power contracts they entered into, which they are being accused of alleged over contracting, would not have been approved if these did not pass through the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), NEA and DOE.

Ticar said the electricity rate of Ceneco is at par with other electric cooperatives in Western Visayas. It is only the Ceneco Corporate Planning Division that has long term study for a joint venture on renewable energy so eventually, their rates would be lower.

They also explained to Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez during a recent meeting that 50 percent of the brownouts are not caused by Ceneco, he said.

Ticar said they were also able to handle their finances despite the COVID-19 crisis.

Ceneco president Jojit Yap said they are doing their best to deliver better service to the consumers of Ceneco.

Yap said all the actions they have taken have been approved by NEA. They have tried to explain all the issues involving but there are some groups who are not willing to listen. So they decided to call a press conference to answer all these issues so the consumers will be enlightened.

Ceneco also informed the public of their hotline number 458-6777 local 1101 to 1103. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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