In terms of modernizing its electrical distribution services, the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENECO) stands at a crucial juncture. In recent months, the proposal for a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between CENECO and Primelectric Holdings, Inc./Negros Electric and Power Corp. (Primelectric/NEPC) has sparked substantial discussions in the energy sector. And finally, the National Energy Electrification Administration has approved the modernization of CENECO, but only through the collaboration with Negros Power. This marks a significant stride toward the enhancement of service delivery and operational efficiency in Bacolod City and Central Negros.
Understanding the NEA’s Approval of the Modernization of CENECO
CENECO’s pursuit of this agreement was not without its challenges. The National Electrification Administration (NEA) played a pivotal role by advising CENECO about compliance with Section 36(b) of Presidential Decree No. 269 (PD 269). The cooperative should secure majority approval from its member consumers and obtain consent from the NEA and relevant lending sources.
On its own, CENECO could no longer secure loans for capital expenditures to improve its facilities. The best solution presented in the situation was the Joint Venture Agreement with Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).
The critical phase in this process was the Plebiscite conducted in collaboration with Local Government Units (LGUs), aiming for the approval of the JVA. With 178,236 eligible Member-Consumer-Owners (MCOs), the Plebiscite sought a minimum of 89,119 affirmative votes for compliance under PD 269. Thankfully, the results showed a favorable outcome of 98,591 YES votes, or 55.31% of eligible voters.
Publication of the Plebiscite’s results in various newspapers served as a means of notification to concerned parties, setting a window for protests or objections. With no valid protests filed within the stipulated timeframe, the NEA confirmed and certified the Plebiscite Results. The JVA was advanced for further evaluation and study.
The Road to NEA Approval
In subsequent presentations, CENECO-Primelectric/NEPC outlined comprehensive details and addressed queries from NEA officials. The NEA, staying true to its role of ensuring the economic viability and efficiency of electric cooperatives, imposed conditional consent for the JVA. The approval is subject to fulfilling essential conditions safeguarding the interests of MCOs and stakeholders.
These conditions include settling outstanding obligations, securing employee benefits, preserving funds for consumer deposits, and ensuring the proper utilization of proceeds. Additionally, requirements such as identifying assets funded by grants and securing a legislative franchise for NEPC are for the seamless transition and continued service provision.
The NEA’s conditional consent stands as a testament to honoring the MCOs’ consensus while safeguarding the cooperative’s financial health and consumer interests. Meanwhile, consumers can expect that the modernization will usher in efficiency and reliability in power delivery services within CENECO’s franchise area.
Better Distribution Utility for Bacolod and Negros Occidental
The modernization of CENECO, under the proposed JVA with Primelectric/Negros Power, holds the promise of improved service quality. Moreover, consumers can look forward to operational excellence and sustained progress in the business of electricity distribution.
As stakeholders navigate through the conditions, the ultimate goal remains centered on providing world-class services to Member-Consumer-Owners. As they do this, the new company is also set on upholding the cooperative’s integrity and financial stability.
Bacolod City and Central Negros are looking forward to a brighter future as we progress into the digital age.