Consumer group, Ceneco to ink 'partnership' deal

A MEMORANDUM of Understanding (MOU) will soon be signed by consumer group Power Watch Negros (PWN) and Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) aimed at establishing a "spirit of partnership" to properly address concerns hounding the power sector.

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of PWN, said that in his meeting with new Ceneco General Manager Danny Pondevilla on December 21, it was agreed in principle that the proposed MOU initiated by the consumer group will be signed in January 2021 after its approval by the cooperative's Board of Directors.

Sancho, who is also the secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said the proposed agreement was presented to Ceneco president Dwight Carbon in August and November this year considering the worsening energy situation, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, massive unemployment and economic recession.

"There is an urgent need for consultations between Ceneco management and consumers to address vital issues and concerns in the power industry to make the distribution utility more responsive to the needs of the consumer-member-owners (MCOs)," he said, adding that the MOU will pave way for the creation of Power Advocacy Consultative Council (PACC).

During the meeting, the perennial issue of power supply overcontracting was raised by PWN.

Sancho said the Ceneco official responded that he will implement measures to check allegations on the "over the roof" demand forecast of the cooperative that compelled the consumers to pay for the unutilized energy.

Also, Pondevilla manifested that he will allow a representative from the consumers as an observer in the Competitive Bidding Process to safeguard the interests of the consumers under the principles of transparency and accountability.

Sancho said the general manager likewise welcomed the formation of the PACC that shall serve as a venue for the consumers to air their grievances and exhaust all administrative remedies.

"Power Watch and Ceneco, in the spirit of partnership, shall encourage all the stakeholders to support the advocacy of the PACC, that all issues and conflicts shall be resolved in the bargaining table, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and democratic participation," he said.

For the PWN, it anticipates that the signing of the MOU shall pave the way for transparency between the parties and to ensure that equal protection to the rights and welfare of the consumers be given primordial concern.

The group avers that with the appointment of Pondevilla, it is confident that the alleged corruption involving unused, excessive power overcontracting which is considered as "a thorn in the flesh" of the consumers will finally end.

As National Electrification Administration Project Supervisor, Pondevilla can do so much urging the NEA and the Department of Energy to prevent overcontracting, it added.


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