By Glazyl Masculino
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has begun assessing the joint venture agreement (JVA) of Primelectric/Negros Electric and Power Corp (NEPC) and Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ceneco), on October 4, 2023.
NEA Administrator Antonio Almeda said during the hearing that along with scrutinizing Ceneco’s donated capital and viability, the board would also address the concerns of oppositors to improve the agreement.
“I hope we can address the concerns of the oppositors. We must also consider them. Regarding the participation of the Member-Consumer-Owners, it has been concluded during the plebiscite so we will put this into motion with all the required legal objectivity,” NEA Administrator Almeda emphasized.
Primelectric/NEPC and Ceneco presented before the NEA board the joint venture, including the agreement’s implications during the hearing.
“This venture seeks to magnify the electric industry in Central Negros by not just streamlining the internal and external operations of concerned parties but also rehabilitating and modernizing the distribution system, which is deemed crucial in providing quality service to our consumers,” Primelectric/NEPC President Roel Castro said during the hearing.
On the other hand, Ceneco acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore also supported the critical role the JVA plays in the area, adding that it “strongly” supports NEA’s goal to achieve efficient service for all consumers.
“I’m one with NEA in facilitating the service for the benefit of our consumers. That’s why I strongly support and cooperate through this JVA to ensure we deliver quality operations internally and externally. Rest assured that we duly consider all the suggestions raised by Admin Almeda during the hearing,” Lapore said.
Castro highlighted during the meeting that NEPC’s target P2.1 billion investment in terms of capital expenditures is aimed at putting up “cutting-edge and top-of-the-line systems for a better consumer experience.”
“We need to rehabilitate the system because if you don’t put in the additional P2 billion investment or even bigger, you will be inheriting a distribution system that is just the same as now that is inefficient. That’s why we have to put (the investment) in P2.1 billion to start rehabilitating and improving the system,” Castro said.
Castro highlighted that along with rehabilitating the distribution system, the P2.1-billion investment will help reduce system losses and improve reliability.
“The P2.1 billion will result in reduced system losses and much better reliability but will not lead to any immediate increase in the Distribution System and Metering rates for the consumers once NEPC operates,” he added.
Castro also emphasized during the hearing NEPC’s commitment to achieve 100 percent total electrification target in the franchise area of Ceneco by 2028 “in alignment” with the present administration’s agenda of achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
“On behalf of NEPC, we have our commitment to continue, and we will achieve the 100 percent target in alignment with the government’s direction,” Castro noted.
“It will now be fully funded by NEPC, and thus, we are shifting the burden of electrification from the government to the private sector,” he added.
By establishing connections between sitios and the electricity grid, the Sitio Electrification Program intends to achieve its goal of energizing communities through on-grid electrification.
To efficiently execute these programs, the NEPC vowed to work closely with the NEA along with other agencies involved in the hearing to substantiate the NEA’s goal for the nation.
“We will ensure that Primelectric/NEPC will collaborate with NEA and CENECO because we have the same mission to bring light to the progression of the Filipino people and make their lives even more comfortable,” Castro said.