Negros Power executive promises better service

(From left) NEA representative Atty. Vic Alvaro, NEPC executive Roel Castro, and Ceneco GM Atty. Arnel Lapore. (Dolly Yasa photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY—Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC/Negros Power) chief executive officer Roel Castro assured consumers of better service after the Senate passed on third and final reading the bill granting its franchise.

Castro, along with Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) General Manager Atty. Arnel Lapore and National Electrification Administration (NEA) representative Atty. Vic Alvaro, held a press conference Tuesday evening.

Castro said NEPC could start its operations in a month and a half or at most in three months after completing all necessary processes.

“We will try to do what we can, but what we can assure is better service,” Castro said.

Both Castro and Lapore refuted reports that the Joint Venture Agreement is the cause of the increased power rate in the Ceneco franchise area.

For the month of May, the residential rate has risen to P15/kWh compared to last month’s P11/kWh.

Lapore stated that one factor is the lack of supply.

Castro mentioned that the rate increase is happening in practically all distribution utilities, questioning how the JVA could be the cause.

On Monday, the Philippine Senate officially approved the bill granting a franchise to the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC) to operate as a new distribution utility in Central Negros through a Joint Venture Agreement with the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO).

During the plenary session on May 20, 2024, House Bill No. 9805 received 22 affirmative votes from the senators.

After the bill’s approval, Senator Grace Poe, Committee Chairperson on Public Services, expressed her gratitude to her colleagues for their support and emphasized the significance of the legislative measure in enhancing consumer services.

“It is my hope that the granting of the franchise would pave the way for better and more expansive power service in the country,” Poe said in a press statement.

Poe further noted, “House Bill No. 9805 is a result of the public’s clamor for better service in Central Negros Occidental, which CENECO currently serves. NEPC has expressed its readiness and willingness to invest capital in modernizing the distribution system and addressing operational challenges.”

She praised the initiative of both CENECO and NEPC for crafting the joint venture, stating, “What’s great about this agreement is that both parties share the goal of improving the electric service for Negrenses.”

“As legislators, we must remain open to the changing times. Our duty is to be responsive to the needs of our constituents, both now and in the future,” she added.

Poe also highlighted that the new franchise will attract investors: “We are also striving to create a business-friendly environment because doing so will ensure the success of this venture and future endeavors.”

Representatives of both houses of Congress are expected to meet in a bicameral conference to fine-tune the law’s final version before sending it to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for approval.

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