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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Bacolod: Ceneco asked to explain refund basis

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Bacolod City – The secretary general of Power Watch Negros is urging the Central Negros Electric Cooperative to explain the formula and mechanisms involved in computing the almost P238 million over-recoveries which it had been ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to refund its consumers.

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Wennie Sancho said that while they consider the order of ERC a welcome development, it is not enough that the consumers will be refunded by the Board of Directors and top officials of Ceneco. They deserve to know what are the basis of the refund covering the period February 2004 to December 2017.

“This amount had already been collected from the consumers which should have been held in escrow in preparation for future payments in anticipation of over-recovery,” he said.

Sancho, however, claimed that the BOD and top Ceneco officials have been preoccupied with their perks and fat bonuses that the consumer’s welfare has been taken for granted. “Be that as it may, Ceneco is now facing insurmountable financial burden.”

The union had won the labor case with a Collective Bargaining Agreement economic package of about P200 million to be paid by Ceneco chargeable to the consumers, he said.

Sancho said Kepco-Salcon is also seeking payment for its “differential billing” amounting to ₱ 280 million last Dec. 2021, which has now ballooned to almost P500 million. Kepco-Salcon will collect this from Ceneco which will bleed the consumer’s dry.

“We are paying ₱ 15 million systems loss subsidy while the financial viability of Ceneco is almost ₱ 1 billion. Can Ceneco survive?” Sancho asked.

Even a beast of burden would collapse if too heavy weight would be piled upon its shoulder. What would happen to us if the financial foundation of Ceneco collapses? For Power Watch this is alarming, he said.

Sancho said NEA should conduct financial, technical and performance audit on Ceneco to ensure that its power supply acquisition is optimized and actually utilized and not over-contracted. Allegations of mismanagement and corruption will only pave the way for the privatization of Ceneco. (Chrysee Semillano via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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