Bacolod: NEPC assures of better power services

(Photo courtesy of Gilbert P. Bayoran via TVDS)

Following the approval of its franchise by the Senate on third and final reading, the Negros Electric and Power Corporation expects to start its operations in three months, after completing the necessary processes.

In a press briefing recently, NEPC president Roel Castro, assured better service for member consumers of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO).

HB 9805,which was approved on third and final reading by the Senate, allows NEPC to establish, operate, and maintain a distribution system for supplying electric power to end-users in the following areas within Negros Occidental: the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, and Bago; and the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto, through a Joint Venture Agreement with CENECO.

The representatives of both houses of Congress are expected to meet through a bicameral conference to fine-tune the law’s final version, before sending it to the Office of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., for signature, and publication twice in major daily newspapers, before it becomes law.

NEPC could start its operations in a month and a half, or at most in three months, Castro said.

“We have already spent more than P100 million for new meters, poles, and wires, among others, in preparation for the execution of the JVA from day one,” he added.

“Give us time, give us space, and we will try to do everything that we could,” Castro said, apparently addressing CENECO consumer members.

“Capital wise, it is not a question, because we have already set aside P2 billion for the execution of Joint Venture, as well as for the CAPEX (capital expenditures) program for CENECO,” he added.

Castro also announced that they have been engaging in a series of meetings with CENECO on the substations to be addressed first, as well as feeder areas to start expanding.

“We will try to do what we can, but what we can assure is better service,” he stressed.

Of more than 400 CENECO employees, Castro said about 230 have already expressed their intention to join NEPC, adding also that it is 90 percent done with its temporary office at the second floor of Robinsons East in Bacolod City.

But he clarified that there will be no magic quick fix to the high power rates and the problems in the CENECO power distribution system.

Castro said the P2 billion CAPEX will address those concerns and improve services in the next five years.

We do not want to raise false expectations that there will be a quick fix, he pointed out.

CENECO provides electricity to more than 170,000 households and establishments in the cities of Bacolod, Talisay, Silay, and Bago, and the towns of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental.

CENECO acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore welcomed the granting of a congressional franchise to NEPC, saying it would result in “efficient and reliable power distribution services for Negrenses and Bacoleños.”

A transition process would begin after Malacanang’s green light as it waits to secure a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessities (CPCN) from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Lapore said. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star)

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