Lawmaker says NEPC to get franchise by April 2024

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Abang Lingkod partylist Representative Stephen Paduano is optimistic that Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC) will be granted its franchise by April 2024.

“If I have my way, kon pwede lang insigida para ma address na ang system loss, the main cause of high power rates,” he said in a press conference on Friday, December 15, 2023.

(I want it dealt with now to address the system loss, the main cause of high power rates)

Paduano, who is the main author of the NEPC franchise bill, also confirmed that the House Committee on Energy approved the measure last Wednesday.

NEPC was formed through a joint venture agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and Primelectric Holdings Inc of businessman Enrique Razon.

Paduano said that the bill will be calendared for a second reading when they resume session in the third week of January, and after observing a three-day procedure it will then be up for approval on the third reading.

He said he sees no problem at all as far as the approval on third reading is concerned, adding that “there could be some questions or interpellation but other than that, I am sure it will be approved.”

As to the Senate, he said he can communicate directly with Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Service, for the sponsorship of the Senate counterpart bill.

He set the timeline until April 2024 for the bill to be signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Paduano also assured that he will be watching that all the conditions set in the Joint Venture Agreement, particularly in line with improving delivery of services to the consumers and bringing down power costs, will be complied with.

On questions that the Ceneco franchise will expire in 2030, Paduano said that “once NEPC gets its franchise, that of Ceneco will be superseded.