‘Ceneco JVA must advance welfare of consumers’

A civic group that monitors basic utilities in Negros Occidental supports the joint venture agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative and Iloilo’s More Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) as long as it “advances the welfare of the consumers”.

In a statement released to the media on Tuesday, May 23, Power Watch Negros said that “by incompetence, CENECO has attracted this JVA, because if they had only performed satisfactorily, there would be no reason at all for a JVA.”

Wennie Sancho told DIGICAST NEGROS that the group supports the JVA as the electric cooperative needs to elevate its operations and rehabilitate its facilities and power lines.

“We support the JVA as long as it will result in advancing the welfare of the consumers,” Sancho said, adding “CENECO needs a reliable partner to improve its services and address the service inconvenience to the consumers and business that relies on them.”

Power Watch statement also said improvement in CENECO services by whatever means necessary, be it a JVA by MORE Power or any other entity is preferable rather than “maintaining the sickening status quo of CENECO.”

Earlier CENECO’s Responsible Supervising and Confidential Union of Employees (RESCUE) and the Ceneco Union of Rational Employees (CURE) aired their opposition to the planned joint venture saying it will just hurt not just the member-consumers but the CENECO employees.

Sancho said that they should not worry about their jobs for as long as they have a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement as a union, and consultations between the employees and the consumers should be done during the process of pushing for the joint venture.

“Jobs that are necessary and desirable to the business of the company cannot be contracted out,” he said.

On Wednesday, representatives of Power Watch Negros and Utilities Consumers Advocates for Reform (U-CARE) will visit the plant of More Power in Iloilo for benchmarking, Sancho said.

Sancho added that due process should be observed in the JVA proposal and a massive consultation must be conducted.

“We cannot proceed to consultation and referendum if we do not have the final copy of the JVA,” he said.

Meanwhile, various labor groups, including the Negros Consumers Watch, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Partidong Manggagawa, and Social Action Center, will convene on Wednesday to launch the Anti-Ceneco Joint Venture Agreement Coalition at the Bishop’s House in Bacolod City.*

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