On a recent visit, the esteemed representative of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental, Hon. Francisco Benitez, had the privilege of touring the facilities of MORE Power in Iloilo City. During his visit, he had the opportunity to inspect the essential infrastructure and administrative units of MORE Power, including their cutting-edge substations, the sophisticated control center, and the dedicated customer care department.
The purpose of Congressman Benitez’s visit was to gain a firsthand understanding of the day-to-day operations conducted by MORE Power, a vital service provider catering to a substantial consumer base in Iloilo. It is worth noting that MORE Power significantly enhances Iloilo’s status as a technological hub in the region. Furthermore, Congressman Benitez has actively contributed to the legislative process as one of the authors of House Bill 9310, a bill that advocates for the franchising of Negros Electric and Power Corp, a sister company of MORE Power, to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement with Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO).
In his own words, Congressman Benitez expressed, “So, makita man namon nga through sa ila systema dire mapapanaug man nila biskan papaano guro ang amon kuryente sa Negros. Amo man na ang amon ginahulat kag ginahandum nga ti dugay-dugay na gid,” underscoring the importance of this franchise endeavor for the betterment of the region.
Negros power consumers have long voiced concerns, including the aging infrastructure and substations, frequent and extended power outages, and subpar customer satisfaction, all while bearing a high monthly power cost. These challenges have spurred a widespread endorsement of the proposed Joint Venture Agreement (JVA), as demonstrated by a majority vote in favor during a consumer referendum.
However, it is essential to acknowledge that the JVA proposal has encountered opposition, primarily from CENECO employees who harbor apprehensions about the company’s future under privatization. Congressman Benitez shared his perspective on this matter, stating, “I think part of that objection is really from CENECO employees who rightly felt indi sila sure sa matabu sa CENECO moving forward. It’s that insecurity on their part, which was the basis of their objections every time you try to privatize in any capacity.”
Congressman Benitez further emphasized the adverse impact of erratic power supply and rolling brownouts on the economic growth and industrial landscape of Negros. He pointed out the necessity for a consistent power supply to support the expansion of business process outsourcing (BPO) and digital services, critical components of the region’s development.
In light of the challenges faced by the region, Congressman Benitez commended MORE Power for its commendable efficiency and reliability in distributing Power and providing customer service. He credited these accomplishments to MORE Power’s investment in upgrading and expanding its infrastructure and workforce.
Although the Congress is currently in recess, it is anticipated to reconvene in November. Congressman Benitez expressed his hope that the proposed legislation will receive approval from Congress in the first quarter of 2024.
Mr. Roel Castro, President of MORE Power and NEPC, clarified that the JVA primarily serves the interests of consumers in Central Negros. He emphasized the financial constraints faced by CENECO and its inability to meet the demands of consumers due to insufficient funds for infrastructure improvements and high systems loss. This predicament underscores the pressing need to enhance the electrical service in the region to meet the growing energy demand.
In conclusion, the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) initiative is ultimately aimed at providing enhanced electrical services to consumers in Central Negros. As Mr. Castro stated, “This is really for the consumers,” underlining the commitment to improving the quality of electric service and ensuring the vitality of the energy infrastructure to meet the region’s demands.”
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