Ceneco sets aside P61.7M for bill refund

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) has set aside more than P60 million for bill refunds.

Power Watch secretary-general Wennie Sancho said Wednesday that Ceneco acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore confirmed that a Bill Deposit Fund amounting to P61.7 million has been deposited as restricted funds.

Sancho said that on July 26, 2023, he sent a letter to Ceneco finance manager Victor Rada inquiring about the status and amount of the consumers’ bill deposits.

On August 1, 2023, he received a reply from Lapore confirming the bill deposit fund.

But Sancho said that the estimated total amount of bill deposit funds is about P277 million more or less.

He said Ceneco explained that the rest of the fund was used to pay the power suppliers in 2022, which shall be reimbursed and restored from the general fund as it becomes readily available.

Sancho lamented that because of its financial woes, Ceneco was forced to utilize the bill deposit fund to pay its obligations to suppliers.

Sancho averred that if the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) will be ratified by the consumers in a plebiscite, Ceneco will get P2.4 billion from the Enrique Razon-led Primelectric Holdings for its distribution asset.

On top of that, Primelectric will invest another P2 billion in the expansion and modernization of Ceneco, he added.

Sancho further said that should the JVA be approved by the member-consumers, Ceneco will have substantial money to pay its debts, including the P215 million for the refund of the consumers’ bill deposits in addition to the P61.7 million bill deposit fund in various banks.

The fruition of the JVA will be a “deliverance” for Ceneco in paying its more than P613 million indebtedness, he added.

Sancho also said that for the consumers, it will be the full refund of their bill deposit of about P277 million more or less.

“This would also be a deliverance from power outages, unscheduled brownouts, power interruptions, and inefficient services. With the JVA, we will have a stable and reliable power supply,” he stressed.