ERC to decide on fate of Ceneco power supply deals

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Engr. Norman Pollentes, Corporate Planning Division manager of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) said all power contracts entered into by the distributor Ceneco needs approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) before these are enforced.

Pollentes issued the statement amid recurring over-contracting issues hounding the distributor.

Pollentes also said if there are moves to question the contract, it is now subject to the authority of ERC.

In a position paper read during a dialogue Wednesday, Power Watch convenor Wennie Sancho said the ERC established that from July 29, 2011 to November 25, 2013, Ceneco contracted 59,710,493 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is equivalent to about P232 million in excess of its actual requirement.

The dialogue was held upon request of Power Watch Negros to Ceneco president Dwight Carbon in a letter dated December 9, 2019.

Sancho said that for the interim period of 18 months (December 26, 2014 to June 25, 2016) out of 262,800,000 kWh contracted energy, only 139,284,000 kWh, or 53 percent, was utilized by the cooperative.

Hence, the ERC opined that Kepco Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC) must be compensated by allowing the recovery of the P232-million cost to maintain its financial viability, the position paper stated.

Sancho cited that the adverse financial effect of over-contracted power deals are passed on to Ceneco member-consumers to the tune of P547 million.

Of the figures, P232 million is owed to KSPC while the remaining P315 million is to Filinvest Development Corp. Utilities Inc. (FDCUI), he said.

The consumers, Sancho said, will cough up more in the event the ERC approves FDCUI’s differential billing amounting to P146.7 million.

Sancho said that the financial loss of P378 million for the 20-megawatt power agreement with FDCUI may have already been passed on to the consumers while the P146.7 million differential recovery is still pending with the ERC.

“If we shall not expose and oppose over-contracting syndicate schemes by enterprising and devious individuals, the member-consumers will be shackled by the tremendous financial burden,” Sancho said.

But Pollentes said “Once these are already entered contracts, the venue should be the ERC which, under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), has the sole authority for all issues raised against power industry.”

He added that the decisions of the Ceneco Board of Directors (BOD) in the past were based on various considerations.

Pollentes said that if the cooperative is contracting for 10 years, it has to consider a lot of economic factors thus, the forecast demand is being reviewed in order to arrive for what is optimal or most economical, reliable and quality.