For the first time in the history of the power industry, in the franchise area of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), the consumers shall be involved in a crucial decision-making process in the exercise of their sovereign will under the Constitution.
The fate of the joint venture agreement (JVA) now lies in their hands for ratification or rejection in a plebiscite.
The JVA, if ratified, will be the document that will govern the policy-direction that shall emancipate the consumers, after a long period of suffering and inconvenience, because of neglect and mismanagement by Ceneco.
The issues related to the rights and opportunities for participation by consumers in the decision-making process have been largely ignored by Ceneco. Rarely has consideration been given to protecting the welfare of consumers.
One of the greatest social injustices perpetuated by Ceneco is to call us, member-consumer-owners (MCO's), in name only, without the individual equity in its assets determined by the basis of patronage. The members of this pseudo-cooperative were enticed with bags of grocery items, attractive raffle pprizes,and other goodies during the Annual General Membership Assembly (Agma).
Finally, the time has come for us to participate in a plebiscite to ratify or reject the JVA. The result would mean life or death for Ceneco and consumers.
If the JVA is ratified, it would mean a financial infusion of about P4.4 billion or more for the rehabilitation of Ceneco's infrastructure and the installation of modern, state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to level up its operation, which would greatly reduce its system losses and lessen the payment of our monthly bills.
Death because Ceneco is an ailing cooperative suffering from financial hemorrhage due to its huge indebtedness.
The JVA will serve as a lifesaving mechanism that will save Ceneco from its impending collapse, which would result in irreparable damage unparalleled in scope and magnitude and could turn the whole franchise area of Ceneco literally into a dark age. Without the JVA, Ceneco will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
We must go out and vote during the plebiscite for the ratification of the JVA. We should exercise our sovereign will to determine what is good for us-an efficient service that we deserve from a distribution utility because we are paying for it religiously.
This is our moment as consumers. Let us not feel small or impotent. The intensity of our participation must be determined by what we expect to accomplish and the greater impact of the JVA on the plight of consumers. Because we have the collective power to decide our economic future, we directly control what policies should be implemented to enhance our welfare.
The terms and conditions of the JVA are very clear - it is geared toward the modernization and expansion of Ceneco as the platform of the JVA to provide us with a reliable power supply.*