NEA orders Bacolod utility firm to submit ratified power deal

By Nanette Guadalquiver

September 14, 2023, 4:19 pm

BACOLOD CITY – The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has directed the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) to submit a copy of its joint venture agreement (JVA) with Primelectric Holdings Inc. (PHI)/Negros Electric Power Corporation (NEPC) ratified by the member-consumers on the last week of August.

The order is in the memorandum dated Sept. 12, 2023, issued by Administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda, where the NEA also confirmed the final result of the plebiscite.

“It needs the consent of the NEA here, based on Presidential Decree (PD) 269 as amended, since NEA is the creditor of Ceneco,” NEA project supervisor Vic Alvaro said in a radio interview on Thursday.

PD 269 is also known as the NEA Decree.

Alvaro said the memorandum is not a consent but a confirmation of the final result.

In the memorandum, Almeda said Ceneco “should be prepared to answer any questions or queries of the NEA on the JVA.”

He added that NEA “expressly serves its right to impose further conditions for its consent to the JVA for the protection of the member-consumers.”

“Ceneco should also be ready to present a plan on how it intends to secure the consent of any other lending source, which holds a lien on any of Ceneco’s properties as required under PD 269,” Almeda said.

Under the JVA, Ceneco will have 30 percent ownership of NEPC, worth more than PHP800 million, while PHI will own 70 percent, equivalent to PHP1.4 billion.

During the plebiscite between June 24 and Aug. 27, a total of 98,591 “yes” votes were cast in favor of the JVA, representing 55.31 percent of the 178,236 eligible voters, while only 6,899 accounted for “no” votes.

The ratification process followed the signing of the proposed deal between Ceneco board president Jojit Yap and PHI president and chief executive officer Roel Castro on June 3 to modernize and improve power distribution in its franchise area.

Ceneco’s coverage area includes the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Talisay and the municipalities of Don Salvador Benedicto and Murcia towns. (PNA)