NEA orders JVA vote resumption after 15,000 cut from Ceneco list

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore urged eligible consumer-members to exercise their right to vote after the National Electrification Administration (NEA) approved the resumption of the plebiscite on the Joint Venture Agreement between Ceneco and Enrique Razon-led Primelectric Holdings Inc.

NEA approved the resumption of voting after “cleansing” the list of consumers who are eligible to vote.

The number of qualified member-consumers allowed to vote in the plebiscite was reduced by 15,000 – from 192,000 to 177,000 – after the master list was cleansed of double entries and member-consumers who either died or could not be located in their addresses in Ceneco’s service areas.

Lapore confirmed the resumption of the six-day JVA plebiscite which was suspended in early July 2023 due to the validation of the master list of Ceneco member consumers.

Lapore said that the plebiscite has been set on August 19, 20, 26, and 27, and on September 2 and 3.

He said all information on the JVA, master list, and voting centers are available on the Ceneco website, official Facebook page, and barangay centers.

“It will be the member-consumers who will make the decision during the plebiscite. We are encouraging everyone who is qualified to vote to go out and participate,” Lapore said.

NEA approved the suspension of the JVA vote upon the request of local chief executives of cities and towns under Ceneco’s service area.

Primelectric is aiming to acquire Ceneco’s distribution assets, which is estimated at P2.4 billion, on a 70-30 arrangement – 70 percent will be in cash and 30 percent in shares in the new distribution company, Negros Electric and Power Corp., which will be put up and acquire a Congressional franchise.

The firm committed more or less P2 billion for the asset cash purchase and around P2.2 billion in working capital, with total investment estimated at P3.7 billion to P4 billion.

The plebiscite was rolled out after Ceneco and Primelectric signed the JVA on June 3, 2023.

Lapore justified the JVA as a way to solve Ceneco’s financial woes which include P20 million monthly losses and an P800-million debt.

Most of the losses are attributed to systems loss or electricity lost to technical factors and pilferage or theft.

Primelectric is the parent company of MORE Power, which took over as the sole power distributor in Iloilo City four years ago.