NEPC franchise approval seen by first quarter of 2024

Reps. Mike Gorriceta of Iloilo-2nd district and Kiko Benitez of Negros Occidental-3rd district visit the facilities of MORE Power in Iloilo City to personally see the distribution utility’s best practices. Gorriceta was the author of the expansion of MORE Power to the 2nd district and Benitez is one of the authors of House Bill 9310 granting a franchise to Negros Electric and Power Corp to operate in Central Negros.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said the House of Representatives is expected to approve the congressional franchise sought by the Negros Electric and Power Corp (NEPC) in the first quarter of 2024.

Benitez told this projection to reporters Wednesday after he personally visited the facilities of MORE Power in Iloilo City, which is a sister company of NEPC.

Benitez expressed satisfaction with what he saw in Iloilo City.

“I went to see and  assess  their operation sa Iloilo, kay kabalo kamo nag-file kami sang bill in Congress para sa franchise sang NEPC,” he added.

“Aside from the obvious sa investment nga ila himoon sa infrastructure nga dugay na ginahulat nga kay-ohon, ang MORE Power seems to have an approach for customer service and general systems efficiency that can only redound to better customer service like lesser brown out and low power rate.”

The lawmaker said he expects the same benefits enjoyed by Iloilo when NEPC starts operating through a joint venture agreement with Central Negros Electric Cooperative.

“We have seen through their system nga mapapanaog nila ang power rate sa Negros nga amo man ina ang amon dugay na nga ginahulat,” Benitez added.

He said that for now Congress, is in recess and they will resume by November 6.

Benitez also said that after his visit to MORE Power, he can now defend the franchise application of NEPC.

Earlier, Benitez and two other Negros Occidental lawmakers filed a bill seeking a congressional franchise for NEPC, the power distributor that is the offshoot of the joint venture between Ceneco and the Enrique Razon-led Primelectric Holdings Inc.

Negrense Representatives Joseph Stephen Paduano, Juliet Marie De Leon Ferrer, and Benitez sponsored House Bill No. 9310 which aims to grant NEPC a franchise to distribute electricity in the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, and Bago, as well as in the Municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

These cities and towns are under Ceneco’s franchise which expires in 2030.

NEPC is the company that was formed through the joint venture agreement of Ceneco and the Enrique Razon-led CENECO member-consumer-owners which recently agreed to enter into a joint venture with Primelectric Holdings Inc.