MAJORITY of the members of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) Board of Directors affirmed the earlier move to put on hold the collection of P232 million worth of additional charges pending the clarification from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Ceneco president Roy Cordova, who led the Board’s regular meeting Tuesday, October 17, said the collegial body first unanimously approved a resolution seeking clarification on the effectivity of the implementation of ERC order in the light of the motion for reconsideration filed by intervenors, including the Social Action Center (SAC).
READ: Ceneco puts on hold collection of P232-M KSPC contract fees
The Board also approved a separate resolution to hold in abeyance the collection pending the clarification from the ERC.
Cordova said four affirmed the resolution to put on hold the implementation of the order. Each of other three members took no part, abstained, and voted against the move, respectively.
He did not identify who voted either to affirm the resolution or not.
“Now that the Board has its decision, we are now relieved,” Cordova said, adding that “as long as there is no resolution from ERC, Ceneco will not collect additional charges from its member-consumers.”
Pending clarification, no payment shall also be made to Kepco-Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC), Cordova added.
On September 14, KSPC in a letter informed Ceneco of the ERC’s decision dated June 27, 2017, stating the confirmation and provisional approval of load-factor rate, monthly reconciliation, and the authority to collect the differential billing worth P232 million.
The unpaid unaccepted contract quantity of 24 megawatts (MW) of Ceneco with KSPC covering the period of July 26, 2011 to November 25, 2013 will result to an additional charge of P0.8 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
The ERC ordered Ceneco to pay KSPC for the recovery of the said amount, which the former will charge to both residential and commercial consumers within 50 months.
However, no specific date of the start of payment was stated by the order.
Cordova said that during the meeting, he was not able to vote because there was no tie. However, he was asked by other members of his manifestation.
“If there is clarification, there is doubt thus, the stand of the chair is to resolve it in favor of the consumers,” he said.
With the pressing issues hounding the ERC management, Cordova said he believes it may take some time for the agency to resolve the matter.
Power Watch Negros secretary-general Wennie Sancho considered the Board’s decision as “temporary relief” only since it does not absolutely address the problem.
Sancho said the group warns of a “double whammy” as they fear that if the P232-million charges will be implemented, it will soon be followed by the P147-million differential billing being sought by the Filinvest Development Corporation Utilities Inc.
“Power Watch will hand in to President Rodrigo Duterte a letter calling for an investigation of Ceneco due to overcontracting,” he said.
The group alleged that there seemed to be a pattern of abusive and corruptive behavior perpetuated by some members of the Ceneco Board.
“They must show and tell who were responsible for this onerous power agreement and they should be punished,” Sancho added.