NEPC CEO vows to reduce electric rates

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Electric and Power Corporation President and CEO Roel Castro assured consumers in its franchise area that the company will seek ways to reduce power rates.

On Thursday morning, Castro led members of the media on a tour of its business operations and customer care services office, temporarily housed at Robinsons East in Bacolod City.

He reiterated that 60 percent of the electric bill is the generation charge.

“So if the generation cost goes down, the electric bill goes down because the distribution utility does not make money from generation charges; it is a complete pass-through (to consumers),” Castro explained.

Castro emphasized that the company studies daily the available sources that are not under contract and can be purchased at the lowest price.

“We are not sitting ducks waiting for whatever is available. We study the market and have a trading room because the price changes every minute,” he said. “It is our job, responsibility, and even our obligation to purchase at the lowest price available.”

Castro assured, “If there is one guarantee I can give, it is that we will actively look for ways to lower the rates.”

Castro also said that the distribution utility is ready to serve the consumers in its franchise area.

NEPC is 100 percent prepared, and the target for the office to start catering to consumers is August 1, 2024.

However, the current office is temporary, and they plan to move to a new location contracted for five years by January 2025.

He added that if NEPC’s franchise bill is signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier than expected and gets approval before August 1, they could start operations sooner.

“Equipment-wise, we have no problems; everything is already here. The system is in place, and only one or two installations remain, which will be completed by July 5,” he noted.

Regarding personnel, Castro said the bulk of the staff will come from Ceneco where around 200 personnel applied and almost all were hired.

Castro emphasized that on Day 1, the takeover should not be an excuse for not providing excellent service.

“We are ready to serve,” Castro said. The NEPC coverage area includes the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, and Bago, as well as the towns of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

Following Senate approval, HB 9805 was submitted to the Office of the President for signing into law or it could lapse into law after 30 days, followed by publication in major dailies within 15 days.