• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Power Watch Negros reiterated its call to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to conduct a performance and technical audit of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO), to ensure if contracted capacities are optimized and actually delivered.
Wennie Sancho, Power Watch Secretary-General, said this in line with the continuing advocacy of Power Watch Negros to uphold and protect the welfare of the CENECO consumers. So, in order to eliminate corruption and mismanagement, the books of CENECO should be open for a comprehensive audit to erase the public perception that this distribution utility (DU) tends to artificially inflate prices in the rates of electricity.
Sancho said they are also calling for complete and substantial overhaul of CENECO management, especially in the Finance Division.
Managers, supervisors and confidential employees are receiving exorbitant salaries, fat bonuses and allowances. The rank-and-file have substantial wages and benefits that an ordinary worker can only dream of. CENECO is their gold mine, at the expense of the consumers. This could be one of the reasons why electricity rates remain high, he said.
The service of bringing appropriate load requirements to every household, industry and commercial establishments is the function of CENECO. Thus, reliability, security and affordability are highly demanded from distribution utilities like CENECO, Sancho said.
“Unfortunately, the high cost we are paying to CENECO is not worth the services it is giving. What is the real state of CENECO today as a DU? What is the net worth of CENECO? Are its liabilities greater than its assets? How about CENECO’s arrearages in power supply purchases? Is our high system loss a result of financial inefficiencies? What is the assurance from CENECO that the consumers are ensured with the delivery of reliable, efficient and affordable electric service in their coverage areas and to avert the threat of power supply interruption?” He asked.
Sancho said these are some of the nagging questions that prompted Power Watch to demand a technical and performance audit on CENECO, including its compliance in the decision made by ERC to refund millions of pesos for our meter and bill deposits as provided under the Magna Carta for Residential Consumers.
He also alleged that for a long period of time, CENECO is more of the same, hounded by corruption, corporate abuse and outright fraud.
Above all, the system losses of CENECO includes technical losses and losses through theft or pilferage. In Negros, this ranges from 11.06 percent to 12.72 percent of their total energy sales on 2017. CENECO incurred the most MWh losses, amounting to nearly 100,000 in one year. The system losses amounted to around 9 percent of the total energy bill for the consumers. Thus, it is essential to mitigate these losses, hence the need for a technical audit of CENECO’s system, Sancho added.*