Frontier town mayor sees benefits from Ceneco JVA

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental said their town will benefit from the Ignite Power-Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) when it pushes through.

Don Salvador Benedicto located in the upland area of the province is under the franchise area of Ceneco.

“Based on a brief presentation, the Ceneco Joint Venture sounds promising in delivering better quality, lower power rates, and cutting down system losses. I am giving my full support on this. Our Municipality will greatly benefit from this if there will be isolated brownouts, and isolated communities will be energized from the grid,” dela Cruz told Daily Guardian.

Dela Cruz said the venture will also boost the local tourism industry as the town is being dubbed as the summer capital of the province.

“To us, no brownouts means no losses in food inventories, no cancellations of bookings, and satisfied customers; stable power means no equipment damage; and lower rates means more profit,” he added.

He added though that Ceneco has yet to prove that after an affirmative result of the upcoming referendum on the JVA.

“Only then when they walk the talk will it fast-track our development in the tourism industry.”

Dela Cruz was among the local chief executives of the local government units under the franchise area of Ceneco who attended the JVA presentation by Roel Castro, president of MORE Power and Ignite Power early this month.

Also at the presentation were Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, representatives of local chief executives of the cities of Silay, Talisay, and Bago, and the town of Murcia, and Board Members Manuel Frederick Ko and Andrew Montelibano.

Lacson said that with the presentation of Castro, “at least we understood the intention of MORE Power and Ignite Power, based on their experience in Iloilo.”

“I think that it will be to our advantage because they knew already how to bring down the frequency of power interruptions, and how to bring down the system loss,” the governor added.

When asked by Ferrer about the advantages of JVA between their company and Ceneco, Castro said the systems loss, which is an offshoot of electricity pilferage, among other reasons, will go down as he assured that the rehabilitation, capacity, and quality of power will be addressed.

Systems loss is charged by distribution utility to consumers.

Castro also imparted that MORE Power was able to bring down the systems loss in Iloilo from 30 percent to 6.5 percent in three years of operations, and invested more than P2 billion in the same period, for rehabilitation and improvement of services of the electric cooperative.