Group optimistic about Marcos signing NEPC franchise

Power Watch secretary-general Wennie Sancho

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Following the passage of House Bill 9805 by a majority in the House of Representatives at the third and final reading of the 19th Congress, Power Watch Secretary General Wennie Sancho anticipates that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will sign the bill into law once it is presented to him.

“We are expecting significant developments in the power industry once President Marcos enacts this bill,” he stated over the weekend.

A counterpart bill, however, must be passed in the Senate and reconciled with the House version before it can be sent to the President for his signature.

Sancho said that “we shall witness the execution of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA), which the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) consumers ratified in a plebiscite.”

The JVA outlines the terms and conditions to be adhered to during the transition once the legislative franchise is granted and takes effect.

He added that Congress’s granting of the franchise to NEPC poses a considerable challenge for both the consumers and NEPC as a distribution utility.

“Power Watch Negros has very high expectations for NEPC to deliver a quality, reliable, and secure power supply and to fulfill its role in providing excellent service to the consumers,” according to Sancho.

Many consumers believe that the transition from Ceneco to NEPC signifies a welcome change, freeing them from decades of inconvenience and inefficient service due to mismanagement and the misuse of power by those entrusted to serve the consumers.

For some, NEPC is seen as a valiant protector of the consumers’ welfare, Sancho noted.

All eyes are now on NEPC to determine if it truly has a redeeming impact.

Some observers are of the opinion that NEPC will rescue Ceneco, which has become a deteriorating cooperative with diminished power reliability due to the age of its current equipment, which has also reduced its utility value.

Rehabilitation is expected to incur substantial repair costs.

A Power System Reliability Evaluation will be necessary upon NEPC’s takeover of Ceneco’s operations to manage changes such as aging electrical devices.

Concerns regarding the failure indices of power system equipment like transformers are pertinent.

Each piece of electrical equipment must be compatible with its period of use. Most of Ceneco’s equipment has surpassed its “useful life” and entered the “wear-out” phase.

Following its rehabilitation and the implementation of cyber technology, NEPC aims to develop rapid incident detection and diagnosis to prevent the spread of failures, as informed by reliable sources.

NEPC is then anticipated to advance with improved communication technologies and control systems that will provide continuous electricity to consumers at the lowest possible cost and desired quality.

NEPC is expected to ensure power security, which is the capacity to manage any kind of power disturbances.