Kiko expects House to approve NEPC franchise early next year

Rep. Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez*

Rep. Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said on Wednesday, October 11, that he expects the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC) franchise to be approved by Congress in the first quarter of next year.

Benitez said that House Bill 9310, a bill that seeks to give the NEPC franchise, will be taken up in the House of Representatives when it resumes its sessions on November 6.

This franchise bill came after the joint venture agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative and Primelectric Holdings Inc. was approved through a plebiscite.

The bill was authored by Benitez with Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4th District) and Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist).

Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya has also indicated his support, Benitez added.

“It will be referred to the franchise committee and it might be scheduled for hearings”, he said, adding “I can sense hearings will be finished by first quarter of 2024.”

After the Lower House approves the bill it will go to the Senate, which will be less contentious, he added.

With Negros Power having the franchise to energize Bacolod and nearby towns and cities, Benitez hopes it will solve the unpredictability of power outages that affect the economic development of the province.*

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