TO COLLECT OR NOT? Ceneco board seeks legal guidance

BACOLOD City – The scheduled collection of the additional P0.0817 per kilowatt-hour monthly charge on Oct. 25 may be postponed pending Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) Board of Director’s consultation with its legal counsel regarding Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) order.

On Oct. 12, Ceneco Board of Directors president Roy Cordova wrote Ceneco general manager Sulpicio Lagarde to exclude the extra charge from the October electric billing components.

Cordova said the Board of Directors will review the implementation of the ERC order on its regular meeting on Oct. 17.

Cordova added they will seek guidance from Ceneco’s legal counsel.

He explained that the ERC order did not specify when Ceneco shall start collecting the extra charge from its member-consumers.

Yesterday, Lagarde said he still stands with what he said during the press conference on Oct. 11, that the electric cooperative will start the extra fee collection in late-October.

But Lagarde said he will postpone the collection should the Board of Directors issue a resolution ordering such.

“They (directors) will be answerable to whatever repercussions there are,” Lagarde said.

The ERC approved the joint application of Ceneco and the Kepco Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC) for a load factor-based pricing scheme on monthly reconciliation of the unpaid amount under their supplemental agreement on June 27.

The ERC allowed Ceneco to charge its consumer-members the additional monthly fee for 50 months until its P232,010,090 unpaid contract quantity with KSPC is recovered.

Earlier, Rep. Greg Gasataya filed House Resolution No. 1404 requesting the House of Representatives energy committee to look into the ERC order.

“Concerns over the impending electricity price hike have been consistently expressed by many residents and Ceneco member-consumers of Bacolod,” the resolution stated.

Moreover, the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Diocese of Bacolod filed a motion for reconsideration against the ERC order.

The SAC said the ERC “failed to materially and substantially appreciate the uncontroverted facts of the case.”

Lagarde said the motion’s approval will “be favorable to consumers and indirectly to Ceneco.”/PN


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