By Glazyl Masculino
Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Francisco Benitez said he hopes that consumers of Negros Occidental will enjoy the modern equipment and efficient services of MORE Power in Iloilo City.
Benitez aired this wish when he visited Iloilo City’s power distributor last week.
The visit is still part of the moves of Negros Electric and Power Corp (NEPC), a sister company of MORE Power that struck a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco).
Benitez is one of the authors of House Bill 9310, which pushes for a franchise for NEPC.
He was accompanied by Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Mike Gorriceta in touring various vital installations of MORE Power, which includes the modern substations, control center, and customer care department.
Benitez said he wanted to personally see how MORE Power handles its day-to-day operations, services thousands of consumers in Iloilo and has become a huge contributor to Iloilo’s success as a techno-hub in the Region.
“So, makita man namon nga through sa ila systema dire mapapanaug man nila biskan papaano guro ang amon kuryente sa Negros. Amo man na ang amon ginahulat kag ginahandum nga ti dugay-dugay na gid which is the reason why we file sang franchise para sa ila,” Benitez said.
Among the concerns of the power consumers in Negros include decades-old infrastructure and substations and frequent and more prolonged power interruptions.
“These problems prompted consumers to favor the proposed JVA; hence, the franchise is backed by the approval of the majority of its consumers during the referendum,” he added.
The proposed JVA is not without opposition, according to Benitez, particularly from Ceneco workers.
“I think part of that objection is really from Ceneco employees who rightly felt indi sila sure sa matabu sa Ceneco moving forward. It’s that insecurity on their part, which was the basis of their objections every time you try to privatize in any capacity,” he added.
“The rolling brownouts and the unpredictability of power outages in Negros affect our economic growth and industries. We are trying to expand into more BPOs into more digital services and so on, and all of that requires consistent power.”
Benitez lauded the efficiency and reliability of MORE Power in power distribution and customer service. All thanks to its venture into upgrading and upsizing its infrastructure and human resources.
The Congress is in recess but will resume in November. Benitez said he hopes to get Congress’ approval for the NEPC franchise in the first quarter of 2024.
According to MORE Power and NEPC President Roel Castro, the JVA is meant for the consumers in Central Negros.
“They wanted it also, but they are also having financial difficulties. They could not come up with the facilities that are needed, they don’t have the cash, they don’t have the money to do the capital expenditures, and their systems loss is beyond cap, which is a symptom that the service when it comes to the infrastructure if the infrastructure is not already adequate to meet the demand of the consumers. I mean, in terms of electric service, not only in service but in terms of demand for energy. If it would take longer pa baka it would worsen pa. This is really for the consumers,” Castro said.