Negros Power Franchise sponsorship by Sen Grace Poe and Cong Kiko Benitez - Bacolod City

Sen. Grace Poe and Cong. Kiko Benitez are working together to push for the approval of the Negros Power Franchise in the Senate.

Negros Power Franchise Sponsorship by Sen. Grace Poe

The approval of the Negros Power Franchise looks like it’s within reach as Senator Grace Poe endorses it in a sponsorship speech at the Senate.


The approval of the Negros Power Franchise looks like it’s within reach as Senator Grace Poe endorses it in a sponsorship speech at the Senate. The franchise will be for the operation of the distribution utility in Bacolod City and Central Negros under a JVA with CENECO. Moreover, Sen. Poe also sponsored three local bills seeking the grant of legislative franchises to power distribution utilities in the provinces of Leyte and Romblon during the Senate plenary session last Monday.

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As the CENECO linemen try to work on outdated and aging facilities, the frequency of the brownouts all over Bacolod City cannot deny one fact–CENECO cannot provide stable power connection to its consumers. Photo from the CENECO FB page.

The Negros Power Franchise

“As the heat index in the country remains dangerously high and is projected to continue rising at the peak of the summer season and amid El Niño, there is no more fitting time than today to present three measures that will ensure our power consumers’ continued access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, especially amid widespread and frequent brownouts and power interruptions in various parts of the country,” Poe said in her sponsorship speech.

House Bill No. 9805 was formulated after public clamor for better power distribution service in Negros Occidental, she said.

The bill seeks to grant a franchise to Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC), a partnership formed through the joint venture agreement (JVA) between Primelectric, the same parent company of Iloilo’s MORE Power, and CENECO, the existing power distribution utility in the cities of Bacolod, Bago and Silay and the Municipalities of Murcia and Talisay in Negros Occidental, Poe said. She added that CENECO has admitted to its inability to rehabilitate and upgrade its facilities due to its current financial standing.

NEA has reported that CENECO is operating at a negative profit margin and has failed to pay its debts timely. In 2023, it was classified as a Yellow-1 electric cooperative for its poor performance on collection efficiency, systems loss, working capital requirements, and financial operations,” Poe further said.

“Amid these difficulties, NEPC has expressed its readiness and willingness to invest capital to modernize the distribution system and address the operational challenges. We believe this investment would benefit not only the franchise area but also the power sector and the Philippine economy in general,” Poe said.

From Cong. Kiko Benitez

“I am appealing to the Senate to pass it (the NEPC franchise) so that we can have better equipment and facilities in our electric distribution system,” Cong. Kiko Benitez also said. He is one of the authors of House Bill 9805.

Part of the solution to reducing the brownouts hitting Bacolod is to upgrade its aging facilities and wires to more heat-resistant ones, Benitez pointed out. That is the reason why he pushed for the JVA that anticipates the need for a huge capital expenditure (CapEx) to address the power distribution problems of CENECO.

“The way to move forward is to modernize or to come up with brand new or newer facilities and equipment at Ceneco”, he added.

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