A CONSUMER group leader sits as member-observer of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), a power distribution utility catering to the largest number of electric consumers in the province.

Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Power Watch Negros, said he was appointed as member-observer of the committee’s Technical Working Group effective January 1, 2021, for a term of one year.

The Power Watch Negros official received the transmittal sheet of his appointment after his meeting with Ceneco acting general manager and project supervisor lawyer Danny Pondevilla on Tuesday, February 2.

The appointment of committee members is under Board Resolution No. 12854 dated January 26, 2021, or the "Resolution approving the composition of Ceneco Bids and Awards Committee (CBAC) for the year 2021, as recommended per Office Order No. 1 series of 2021.”

Sancho considered his appointment as the realization of Power Watch’s advocacy to be a "watchdog" in the Electric Power Purchase Agreements (Eppa) process, mainly to prevent unused and excessive power supply contracting being paid by the consumers.

“It is an honor, but with it is the great challenge how to fight giants and cyclops in the power industry,” he said, adding that “if transparency can be restored, this will be the beginning of a new era where the member-consumers can now reclaim the ownership of electric cooperatives that belongs to them collectively as a people.”

Ceneco caters to consumers in cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay, and towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.

Under new management, the cooperative earlier assured the member-consumers of more transparent and efficient services through one, ensuring that its power supply contracts are free from corruption and other irregularities.

Pondevilla, also the general manager of the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative, said among the measures to ensure transparency in the cooperative include reorganizing the BAC to increase the number of observers, especially from consumer, labor and business sectors during the bidding process.

Also, Ceneco is set to sign an agreement with various organizations including Power Watch for the formation of the Power Advocacy Consultative Council that will provide the public access to data they need about the cooperative including its operations and transactions.

“All power contracts must undergo a competitive selection process. All should be transparent, nothing should be approved immediately,” he said.