[File photo]
[File photo]

Congress urged to fasttrack approval of NEPC franchise

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez has urged the House of Representatives and the Senate to fasttrack the approval of the franchise proposal of Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).

Benitez said Wednesday, November 11, the House Committee on Legislative Franchise already approved in principle the franchise proposal of NEPC on November 13.

The house committee, chaired by Parañaque Representative Gus Tambunting, gave its preliminary nod to House Bill 9310, which outlines the transfer of the franchise from the beleaguered Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) to NEPC.

The bill was sponsored by Negros Occidental Representatives Juliet Marie Ferrer of 4th District, Stephen Paduano of Abang-Lingkod party-list, Jose Francisco Benitez of 3rd District, and Greg Gasataya of Lone District of Bacolod City.

After the approval of the house committee, Benitez said the proposed bill would go to the plenary and then to the Senate.

"Once everything is in order and if they see that the stakeholders involved are good, there will be no hitches or major obstacles, then it’s expected that it will be approved,” he said.

The mayor said he is hopeful that Congress and the Senate will approve the bill this year.

"Hopefully, they will finish it this year so we can move forward because we are hoping for better service,” Benitez said.

The scope of the franchise encompasses the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Talisay, along with the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

Currently, the electrical distribution in the said areas is under Ceneco, and its franchise will expire in 2030.

NEPC is a sister company of MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) in Iloilo City.

Ceneco and More Power signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) on June 3 to modernize and improve power distribution in its franchise area.

“One thing that I like about them is because they promote green power or green energy. We are looking at converting Bacolod City as one of the first cities to be fully renewable source of power,” Benitez said.*

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