Joint venture between LGUs, power suppliers presented to Marcos

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Tuesday said that the proposed venture between local government units and power  suppliers were brought up to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his visit here  Sunday.

Lacson told reporters here that Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez  presented to Marcos Jr. the idea of a joint venture between the local government units and energy providers, specifically renewable energy providers.

Lacson said the President instructed Mayor Benitez  to come up with a position paper and address it to the Energy Regulatory  Commission and get their comments if it is possible to have that joint venture between the LGU and energy providers.

“The idea Is that this joint venture will directly  deal with the electric coop which most likely will reduced electric cost  for the consumers,” the governor said.

Lacson said he joined the President in his visit here Sunday for the distribution of financial assistance to vegetable farmers associations and farm workers association.

The P87-million assistance was coursed through the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM).

Lacson also said that the President was brief by the regional directors of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Economic Development Council.

The President also recognized the right of the LGUs to control  the entry of  pork to the locality amid the threat of the Asian Swine  Fever with cases already confirmed in two LGUs in Iloilo province.

Earlier, Lacson governor revealed plans for a joint venture agreement between the local government units (LGUs) and power suppliers, specifically renewables in the province.

Lacson said the joint venture agreement plan came out during the Energy Summit on Oct 5 organized by the City of Bacolod and the Province of Negros Occidental with three electric cooperatives in the province, the business sector and some investors.

He added that the plan also came out because they learned that they can directly negotiate with electric cooperatives without the bidding process under the joint venture setup.

Issues faced by the industry were discussed especially the high cost of energy which is one of the burdens shouldered by the power consumers at the summit.

“It turns out that majority of the power sources are coal which is expensive that’s why power bills are jacking up now. We are really at the mercy of the cost of energy right now,” the governor said.

Lacson also pointed out that while the province has a sufficient source of renewable power like solar, he pointed out solar is only good for six to seven hours that’s why LGUs need to secure batteries and that’s where the joint venture agreement comes in.

“So we have to see the numbers how much it would cost especially the LGUs in this joint venture but this is for the future as a way of bringing down the cost of energy,” he added.

Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez noted that power costs can possibly be reduced “by 3 pesos” through continuous communication like the said summit and consistent access to generation of electric cooperatives.

He said the rate increase can be attributed to the higher generation, distribution lines, transmission and systems loss charges, and costs of power purchased from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

Along with the goal of molding Negros Occidental to become totally renewable energy reliant, the citizens are reminded to be mindful of their power consumption as it is one of the factors that cause power hikes as well, he added in a press statement.