Last November 13, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises gave its preliminary approval to the franchise proposal presented by Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC). The NEPC franchise is what Bacolod City and Central Negros have been waiting for in order to get better service from an electric distribution utility. This critical decision, following a thorough review led by Negrense lawmakers, including Representatives Juliet Marie Ferrer, Stephen Paduano, Kiko Benitez, and Greg Gasataya, marks a turning point in the power distribution of Central Negros. CENECO is now giving way to NEPC.
Let’s review why the NEPC-CENECO JVA is Good
Committee Deliberations on NEPC Franchise
Chaired by Gus Tambunting, the Committee engaged in in-depth discussions and thorough scrutiny of House Bill 9310. The bill outlines the transfer of the franchise from the challenged Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) to NEPC. The area covered by the franchise includes the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Talisay, along with the Municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.
Key Points Addressed
During deliberations, Negrense representatives passionately pointed out the critical need for NEPC’s intervention, highlighting the financial hardships faced by CENECO. These challenges primarily stem from insufficient Capital Expenditures crucial for the modernization of its existing facilities.
Presence of Stakeholders
Prominent figures from both NEPC and CENECO, alongside representatives from the National Electrification Administration, Energy Regulatory Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission, attended the hearing. Their presence signified this house bill is of utmost importance and vital to the energy sector of Central Negros.
Focus on Joint Venture Agreement (JVA)
Another focal point of discussions revolved around the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA). There was an emphasis on the conduct and outcome of its ratification through a plebiscite. The overwhelming support of the consumers for the JVA strengthened the basis for the transition.
After all the discussions and hearings, the committee was convinced to provide an initial approval of the proposed house bill. This approval, however, is contingent on the submission of other specified documents. NEPC President Roel Castro expressed commitment to addressing the concerns raised by committee members through written responses alongside the required documentation.
Implications for Central Negros
This development sparks optimism for the energy landscape in Bacolod City and Central Negros. With the green light, Congress gives NEPC the challenge of bringing innovative transformation to the region’s electric distribution service. This lays the groundwork for positive changes in the energy supply network of the region.