By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) president Jojit Yap said Friday that consumers should be consulted on the proposed Joint Venture (JV) between the cooperative and the Enrique Razon-led MORE Power, the power distributor in Iloilo City.
“At stake here is the interest and welfare sang mga consumers and security of tenure of the workers,” Yap added.
Earlier, acting Ceneco General Manager Arnel Lapore earlier confirmed that MORE Power submitted an unsolicited proposal for a joint venture undertaking with the cooperative.
Yap said that she has not yet read the details of the JV which was submitted to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for comment and guidance.
“But I would look at it from a perspective of necessity. If need gid bala sang Ceneco mag JV? Are there other options available? Will it be better for Ceneco? Will it result in lower rates and development of facilities?” Yap pointed out.
She added that at stake in the proposed JV are the interest and welfare of the consumers and the security and tenure of Ceneco workers.
Yap said consultations with other stakeholders are imperative, not just the management and board.
“On this matter, I don’t think ang board lang ang maka-decide sini. Dapat guro ang mga consumers sa general assembly ang ma decide. We should go deeper into this and the consumers must be involved,” she added.
Earlier, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said he will not hesitate to support the Ceneco-MORE Power JV if it will redound to the benefit of Bacolodnons.
Benitez said he has only heard of reports about the possible JV, but he has yet to see any document.
“I have not seen anything but if it will benefit the consumers of Bacolod, then it is something worth supporting,” he said.
Benitez said one of the things he wants to happen if the JV pushes through is to lower electricity rates.
Ceneco’s rates is at P15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) while MORE Power sells electricity in Iloilo City at P13 per kWh as of February 2023.
The mayor also wants a stable supply, meaning fewer interruptions.
“If the power rate is low and there is a stable supply, then we will support whoever runs our distribution system,” he added.
Benitez also wants the power distributor to supply from renewable sources so it can leverage investors who are into sustainable investments.
“A lot of companies are looking for investment sites that are into renewables. There are even banks that refuse to loan money if the business is into fossil fuels. If they can harness renewables, we will support them,” the mayor said.