Public hearing today on Ceneco power deal


BACOLOD City – The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is holding a public hearing today on the amended Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Supplemental Agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and Energreen Power Development and Management Inc.

In recent weeks, there have been a lot of conjectures about the MOA, one of which is that it would result to higher electricity rates.

Environmentalists have also questioned Energreen’s power-generating processes.

The hearing at Ceneco’s main office on corner Gonzaga and Mabini streets starts at 2 p.m.

Manny Canto, corporate communications officer of Energreen, urged Ceneco consumers to attend.

The MOA was signed on Dec. 15, 2010 yet. Energreen would supply Ceneco with power from its then proposed diesel and biomass power plants for a selling price of P12.44 per kilowatt hour. That time, Energreen was just starting to construct a power plant.

Under the MOA, electricity would be supplied directly to Ceneco’s 69 kilovolt (kV) Power Barge Feeder, ensuring delivery of reliable power even during transmission line problems.

On Aug. 5 last year, the MOA was amended. Though maintaining the selling price of P12.44 per kilowatt hour, Energreen would be providing Ceneco with power initially from its 18.9-megawatt diesel power plant located in Barangay Calumanggan, Bago City. It has not constructed a biomass power plant yet.

The diesel power plant will start operating this December.

Ceneco’s service area covers the cities of Bacolod, Talisay, Silay, and Bago and the towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.

Councillor Alex Paglumotan, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s committee on communications and energy, recently conducted a public hearing on the MOA, specifically tackling Energreen’s selling price.

He noted that Energreen’s selling price is higher compare to the power that Ceneco gets from other energy suppliers.

Ceneco general manager Sulpicio Lagarde Jr. said they decided to tap Energreen because the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. will no longer renew its contract with the electric cooperative. The contract expires this Dec. 25, 2014.

He also disclosed that the MOA proves that after 15 years, Energreen will turn over to Ceneco a 17-kilometer 69 kV transmission line from Bago City to the cooperative’s priority feeder in the Reclamation Area.

The newly organized Utility Consumers Alliance of Negros (UCAN) will attend today’s hearing.

UCAN chairman, Fr. Ernie Larida said they want to make sure that the MOA will not result to unreasonable increases in power rates.

Groups under UCAN include the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros, Bayan Muna, Consumers Power Advocate, and Electric Consumers Advocacy of the Philippines-Negros, among others./PN