Coalition vows to push for Ceneco JVA approval

Leaders of the groups supporting the JVA at the Negros Press Club Friday.*JJunsay photo

It has been a divisive week for various progressive and civic action groups in Negros Occidental as they declared different stances on the proposed joint venture agreement (JVA) between Central Negros Electric Cooperative and Ignite More Power Corporation.

A coalition of several groups led by Power Watch Negros and Utilities Consumers Advocates for Reforms (UCARE) released their covenant of solidarity in support of the JVA at a press conference at the Negros Press Club building in Bacolod City, Friday, May 26.

Power Watch Secretary-General Wennie Sancho told DIGICAST NEGROS that they support the JVA as Ceneco needs to upgrade its services and management to ease the inconveniences of its power consumers.

They will work for the ratification of the JVA through a referendum, he said.

Sancho said that the more the JVA is delayed “the more that we prolong the agony of the consumers to have better electric supply services”.

On Wednesday, May 24, a coalition was also launched at the San Sebastian Cathedral complex where about 20 labor, progressive, and other sectoral groups signed a manifesto opposing JVA.

Their manifesto stated that the JVA will result in the increase of power rates to ensure return on investments.

“CENECO is not an ailing cooperative… but is being peddled as such an ailing and mismanaged cooperative to justify its sell-out or power grab,” the manifesto stated.

Meanwhile, Power Watch and UCARE have about 1,500 members who are also Ceneco consumers from Bacolod and nearby towns and cities, Sancho said.

“The delay in the approval of the proposed JVA would mean prolonging the agony of the consumers at a time where there are rampant power outages that cause discomfort, inconvenience, and stress that affects their lives,” he said.

Their support for the JVA was reinforced after their visit to the MORE Power plant in Iloilo on May 24, where they realized that Ceneco was “lagging behind when it comes to technology, operational strategies, and management,” Sacho added.

He said that MORE Power has the technology that improved the delivery of services to its consumers.

“What we need is not [CENECO] rehabilitation but the installation of state-of-the-art technology to ease the distribution of electricity,” Sancho said.

Apart from supporting the JVA, Sancho added that their group also hopes to expedite the process of approving it in order to “relieve ourselves from the many inconveniences.”*MLG

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