A LOCAL consumer group, Power Watch Negros, has slammed the management and members of the Board of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) for their alleged failure to keep their promise to clearly explain the surge in the monthly bills of its member-consumers during the lockdown.
Power Watch Negros's secretary general, Wennie Sancho, said hundreds of consumers were stunned with the continued increase of their monthly electric bills.
Sancho said after the public hearing conducted by the Bacolod City Council, the same pattern goes on and on with Ceneco unable to come up with concrete measures except its promise to conduct actual meter reading for those who have filed their complaints.
"It would seem that our electric cooperative is uncooperative when issues like power over contracting, the controversial systems loss charges, among others are hurled against them," he added.
It can be recalled that various labor groups earlier condemned the alleged arbitrary and unreasonable imposition of additional charges during this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, so they are asking the cooperative to refund its member-consumers.
They have been calling on Ceneco to initiate a dialogue with the consumers and be able to present clearly how they came up with such a "sudden increase."
Ceneco caters to the largest number of electric consumers in the province, including cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay, and towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.
The cooperative, in an advisory, earlier clarified that its monthly power rates are computed in accordance with the approved guidelines of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Power Watch Negros, however, is challenging the members of Ceneco Board to explain their stand on this issue as "they are supposed to represent the interests of the consumers."
"But why are they silent? They should be held accountable for their negligence and inefficiency in gross disregard of their sworn duty to protect the rights and welfare of the consumers," it said.
Its official said the group intimated its intention to have a dialogue with Ceneco to discuss relevant issues on behalf of the consumers.
Sancho said unfortunately, they were ignored by the power distribution utility. For us, this indifference on the part of this electric cooperative is part of their measure to ignore the principle of transparency.
"Ceneco as a power distribution utility is imbued with public interest and as such, it is accountable to the people," he said, adding that "by its negligence and indifference, the cooperative is making our lives miserable as a people."