Power rates can still be reduced, think out of box, Albee tells NEA

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) and Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) should think out of the box to further bring down power rates, Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez said Friday, January 20.

Benitez was reacting to the statement of NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda on Thursday that the current rate for CENECO’s generation mix is very much acceptable.

“I can rule out mismanagement because the prevailing (CENECO) generation mix is within the accepted price range in the market,” Almeda said.

Benitez, who has been finding ways to bring down CENECO’s cost of electricity, said he disagrees with Almeda that the generation mix rate is acceptable.

“They are not looking outside the box, there are other sources of power that could be cheaper… I was hoping they would be more proactive in looking for ways to bring down power costs,” he said.

“They should not accept the current situation, they should continue to find ways to bring costs down,” he said.

NEA should respond to the complaints of the consumers, instead of just declaring that there was no mismanagement and the current generation rates are acceptable, Benitez said.

Almeda on Thursday appealed to consumer groups to let CENECO do its work. It is very counterproductive to insinuate mismanagement when its generation mix rates are within the prevailing market levels, he said.

Benitez said CENECO should explore availing of cheaper power from geothermal plants and other renewable energy sources, rather than from the much more expensive coal plants.

He is calling representatives of solar, biomass and geothermal power generation companies in Negros to a summit, Benitez said.

Benitez said he has a solution in mind to bring down the high cost of power.

The mayor also said he had recommended the appointment of lawyer Arnel Lapore as the new acting general manager of CENECO. Lapore officially assumed the post Thursday.*

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