‘SMOOTH TAKEOVER’: NEPC commits to fair, legal power distribution in Negros

NEPC CEO and President Roel Castro (left) with MBCCI vice president for governmental affairs Frank Carbon on the sideline of the Negros Island Power Forum on Wednesday. (Dolly Yasa)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Anticipation mounts for the looming takeover of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) by Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).

NEPC reassured Ceneco consumers of a seamless takeover once its franchise is granted by Congress.

“Our objective is really a seamless takeover, that the consumers will not really know that we are here,” NEPC President and CEO Roel Castro said during the Negros Island Power Forum at L’Fisher Hotel on Wednesday.

The forum, initiated by the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), seeks to create a Negros Island Power Development Coordinating Council.

In collaboration with Ceneco, NEPC has begun surveying 220,000 electric meters in its franchise area, of which 178,000 have been reviewed, revealing 5,000 illegal connections and 80,000 without seals.

Castro anticipates that the number of illegal connections will rise, saying, “is too low, there will be more.”

He emphasized the NEPC’s commitment to fairness and justice for consumers who pay their bills regularly.

As for households with illegal connections, Castro said ” we have to make them apply.”

He pointed out that  for every illegal connection “yung mga consumers who are religiously paying their bills ang nagbabayad, it is so unfair to them.”

“To be fair and give justice to the consumers, that is part of our commitment,” Castro further said.

NEPC plans to conclude its survey by the month’s end, which will determine the quantity of meters needed and ensure the provision of necessary supplies.

Castro was adamant about taking action against those who deny illegal connections, insisting that “we know what we have to do because the law is on our side.”

No new hires have been made for NEPC pending franchise approval, though 250 Ceneco employees have applied to join NEPC, with about 15 to 20 retracting their applications.

NEPC emerged from a joint venture between Ceneco and MORE Power, owned by businessman Enrique Razon.


Meanwhile, community leaders here voiced the need for reliable power during the “Negros Electric Power Forum” organized by the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI).

Bacolod City Councilor Thaddy Sayson, representing Mayor Albee Benitez, highlighted the paramount importance of a reliable electricity supply.

Sayson’s personal accounts of appliance damage due to unstable power underscored the link between power reliability and Bacolod City’s growth and prosperity.

Frank Carbon, Vice President of MBCCI and Co-Chair of the PCCI Energy, Power, and Water Committee, offered his expert perspective, emphasizing the EPIRA law and calling for collaboration among power industry players.

He suggested forming a power security coordinating council to facilitate regular strategic meetings.

City Councilor Kalaw Puentevella voiced his concerns about the impact of power reliability on public safety and the economic implications for businesses, underlining the necessity for stable electricity to prevent further financial repercussions.

Roel Castro, President and CEO of Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC), addressed the complexities of power distribution and the past challenges of blackouts in Negros and Panay. Castro outlined NEPC’s commitment to regulatory compliance, standardization, and modernization to cater to the growing energy needs of the region.

He also touched on the CNP Cebu-Negros-Panay backdoor initiative aimed at improving the efficiency of power supply and distribution.

Castro stressed the significance of Load Profile management, adapting to the variable energy demands throughout the year.