Bacolod City mayor will support Ceneco-MORE Power venture if…

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez on Wednesday said he will not hesitate to support the reported joint venture (JV) between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and MORE Electric and Power Corp if it will redound to the benefit of Bacolodnons.

Benitez said he has only heard of reports about the possible JV, but he has yet to see any document.

“I have not seen anything but if it will benefit the consumers of Bacolod, then it is something worth supporting,” he said.

Benitez said one of the things he wants to happen if the JV pushes through is to lower electricity rates.

Ceneco’s rates is at P15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) while MORE Power sells electricity in Iloilo City at P13 per kWh as of February 2023.

The mayor also wants a stable supply, meaning fewer interruptions.

“If the power rate is low and there is stable supply, then we will support whoever runs our distribution system,” he added.

Benitez also wants the power distributor to supply from renewable sources so it can leverage investors who are into sustainable investments.

“A lot of companies are looking for investment sites that are into renewables. There are even banks that refuse to loan money if the business is into fossil fuels. If they can harness renewables, we will support them,” the mayor said.

Benitez said he will observe what is happening in Iloilo City even as he hopes that Ceneco and MORE Power can present their plans.

Acting Ceneco General Manager Arnel Lapore earlier confirmed that MORE Power and Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) submitted an unsolicited proposal for a joint venture undertaking with the cooperative.

Lapore said the proposal had been sent to the National Electrification Administration for comment and guidance.

When asked about his views on the JV, Lapore said it could be beneficial to Ceneco and consumers citing the growing demand for stable supply of electricity.

MORE Power declined to comment in the meantime.