Suspected Sabotage: Power Watch Negros Raises Concerns

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With the recent power outages in Bacolod City, Power Watch Negros (PWN) has raised suspicions about possible sabotage behind the disruptions. The organization, dedicated to monitoring and advocating for electricity consumers’ rights, expressed concerns about internal forces allegedly attempting to undermine the operations of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO). As these issues unfold, PWN Secretary-General Wennie Sancho prepares to take action. He wants to ensure accountability and reliability in the region’s power supply.

Power Outages in Bacolod Have Become More Frequent

Recently, power outages in Bacolod have become more frequent. Some have even insinuated that the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Primelectric Holdings Inc. approved by CENECO consumer members through a plebiscite is useless. Instead of improving, there are now more power outages.

However, Negros Power, or NEPC, the new power DU resulting from the JVA, is still in the process of acquiring a franchise. At the moment, the Philippine Senate is still deliberating on this. The final step is the approval of President Bongbong Marcos.

Suspected Sabotage

PWN Secretary-General Wennie Sancho is suspecting sabotage. He is prepared to file a formal complaint because they believe that some employees of CENECO are allegedly involved in illicit activities. They are suspected of sabotaging the DU’s operations and causing the rampant power outages throughout Bacolod City.

The disruptions occurred from March 26 to April 11, causing inconvenience and disruptions to consumers. Sancho stressed the importance of a thorough investigation into these incidents. The goal is to address consumer grievances and to ensure transparency and accountability within CENECO’s operations.

Call for Investigation

On behalf of PWN, Sancho is urging Atty. Arnel Lapore, Acting General Manager of CENECO, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the hours-long brownouts. Additionally, PWN requests the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to conduct a concurrent investigation, particularly focusing on the blackout on April 11, 2024. The organization seeks to uncover the truth behind the incidents. They want to determine any deliberate actions or negligence that caused the disruptions.

Optical Ground Wire Incident

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Reports indicate that an Optical Ground Wire, an overhead power line cable, was severed during the blackout on April 11, 2024, resulting in an extensive blackout lasting nearly four hours. Sancho expressed concerns about the nature of the incident. He is questioning whether it was a deliberate act of sabotage or an unforeseen event. He stressed the importance of discerning the truth and holding accountable any individuals responsible for compromising public welfare.

A Subpar Emergency Response

Aside from the power outages, additionally, their customer service is way below satisfactory.

One time, there was an outage in one of the major streets of Bacolod, and it took 13 hours to be restored. The main reason was that it was so hard to report the issue. If they had received the report and dispatched a crew to resolve the issue immediately, the problem only needed 20 minutes to fix. However, they do not have an efficient system for their emergency response team to serve the consumers. It seems they do not have people to receive calls or are rejecting calls. They have a hard time managing priorities and resolving power problems.

Consumer Rights and Accountability

As member-consumer-owners (MCO) of CENECO, consumers have a fundamental right to reliable electricity services. PWN emphasizes the importance of transparency and efficiency in addressing consumer concerns and maintaining the integrity of CENECO’s operations. The organization calls for a fair and impartial investigation to uphold consumer rights and ensure accountability for any wrongdoing.

The recent power outages in Bacolod City have raised significant concerns about the reliability and security of the region’s power supply. Power Watch Negros is committed to advocating for consumer rights and holding accountable any individuals or entities responsible for compromising the integrity of CENECO’s operations. As investigations unfold, the organization remains vigilant in its pursuit of transparency, accountability, and reliability in the provision of electricity services.

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