3 Negros reps file bill for NEPC franchise to boost power services

Three Negros lawmakers have filed a bill that seeks to grant the Negros Electric and Power Corp. (NEPC) a franchise to acquire and operate the electric power distribution system in the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay and Bago and in the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental.

House Bill 9310 was filed by Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod), Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4th District) and Rep. Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) on Monday, September 25.

The electric power distribution in the four cities and two municipalities is currently being handled by Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO).

The quality of CENECO’s service has been wanting, the three lawmakers said in their House Bill 9310 explanatory note.

Among the complaints against CENECO are power outages, voltage fluctuations, poorly-maintained lines, inadequate investment in distribution facilities, inordinate delay in the restoration of power services, overbilling/overcharging, and poor customer relations, among others, they said.

The growth of Bacolod and its adjacent cites and municipalities, which are among the most progressive in the Philippines, is being hindered by the poor service of CENECO, they said.

CENECO, as an electric cooperative, faces constraints due to its reliance on limited funding and lack of access to modern technology, they pointed out.

“Unless the steadily increasing power demand is fully addressed by a reliable, reasonable and efficient power distributor, the economic growth in the region will be delayed and hindered,” the lawmakers said.

They said accepting its own limitations CENECO has entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Primelectric Holdings Corp. wherein NEPC will take over its electric power distribution system.

The JVA was ratified by the CENECO member- consumers in a plebiscite.

NEPC’s mission is to infuse an initial capital of P2 billion to rehabilitate and modernize electric power distribution to make it reliable and efficient to consumers, businesses, institutions, and other users within its franchise area, its spokesperson Jonathan Cabrera said on Thursday.

NEPC is a sister company of MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) in Iloilo City.

“The track record of this group is impressive, as demonstrated by its ability to rehabilitate and modernize Iloilo City’s distribution system in a short time,” Cabrera said.

Within three years of taking over the neglected facilities from the previous distribution utility company, the group reduced system losses, added over 30,000 new customers, and lowered power costs, he said.

“What sets NEPC apart is its management team, which mirrors the leadership behind MORE Power,” he said.

Additionally, NEPC benefits from the substantial financial resources of the same group that controls several publicly listed companies, including Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, Manila Water Company Inc., and Apex Mining Company Inc., he said.

Considering the proven capabilities of NEPC and its potential to revolutionize the power distribution landscape in Central Negros, Congress has a compelling reason to grant the franchise, the three lawmakers said in their proposed House bill.

With NEPC’s expertise and resources, Central Negros may soon enjoy reliable, efficient, and cost-effective electrical distribution services that will benefit its residents and businesses, they said

The support of the members of Congress for the prompt and timely passage of this measure is earnestly sought, the three lawmakers said.*

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