New Central Negros Power Distributor to Begin Operations by Q3


New Central Negros Power Distributor to Begin Operations by Q3

New Central Negros Power Distributor to Begin Operations by Q3

New Central Negros Power Distributor to Begin Operations by the Third Quarter of 2024

The Negros Electric and Power Corp. (NEPC), in partnership with the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), is set to commence operations by the third quarter of this year. This development follows the Senate’s approval of NEPC’s franchise on its third and final reading on Monday.

Timeline for Operation

During a press conference held on Tuesday night, NEPC President and CEO Roel Castro provided insights into the anticipated timeline for the commencement of operations. “The earliest would be about a month and a half, the fastest from today. (It) could go to about three months. There are still many things that are not within our control,” Castro stated. This timeline reflects the complexities and remaining steps involved in the transition.


Legislative Approval and Legal Steps

The franchise for NEPC, granted under House Bill (HB) 9805 and supported by 22 senators, empowers the corporation to establish, operate, and maintain a power distribution system. This system will serve end-users in six localities through a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Ceneco, backed by a target investment of approximately PHP2.1 billion. The coverage area includes the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, and Bago, as well as the towns of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

Following the Senate’s approval, HB 9805 will be forwarded to the Office of the President for signing into law. If not signed within 30 days, the bill will automatically lapse into law. Subsequently, the new law will be published in major dailies within 15 days, marking its official enactment.

Regulatory Approvals

In addition to legislative approval, NEPC must secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). “I don’t know how long ERC will grant that. That is the official milestone, wherein it could say that NEPC could already operate in the franchise area,” Castro explained. This certification is crucial for NEPC to begin formal operations within the designated franchise area.

Preparations for Operation

Proactive steps have already been taken by NEPC in anticipation of their operational start. Castro highlighted that five response teams have been deployed in Bacolod City, and a temporary office with approximately 250 workspaces has been established. This preparation underscores NEPC’s commitment to a seamless transition and readiness to serve the community.

Employment transition plans are also underway, with a significant number of Ceneco employees expressing their intention to join NEPC. “Out of the 400 plus employees of Ceneco, about 220 or 230 have already expressed their intention to join (NEPC). We have already somehow slotted them in. The process of employment will happen soon. That’s something we have to coordinate with Ceneco,” Castro noted.

Commitment to Improved Service

A key objective of the NEPC-Ceneco joint venture is to enhance service quality for consumers. Castro emphasized their aim to deliver “better service” through the implementation of “cutting-edge and top-of-the-line systems” for power supply distribution. The significant capital investment, exceeding PHP2 billion, is designated for the joint venture’s execution and capital expenditures program.

The joint venture’s focus on modernizing and rehabilitating the distribution system is critical to providing reliable and efficient service to consumers. Over 55 percent of Ceneco’s consumer members ratified the JVA during a plebiscite held between June and August last year, demonstrating strong community support for the initiative.

In summary, the impending operations of NEPC mark a significant milestone in the enhancement of power distribution services in Central Negros. With legislative backing, substantial investments, and a dedicated workforce, NEPC is poised to deliver improved and reliable electric power to its coverage area, benefiting both residents and businesses alike.

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