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Energy summit laudable but deficient – Amlig Kuryente

Amlig Kuryente lead convenor and former councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., described the recently held October 5 energy summit spearheaded by the City Government of Bacolod together with the Province of Negros Occidental as laudable but deficient in focus as to the immediate and concrete solutions of the present skyrocketing cost of electricity thus emaciating some more the poor majority, a press release from Amlig Kuryente said.

Gamboa said that advocating and investing in renewable sources of energy is indeed the call of the times and is the mandate of the national government for electric cooperatives (ECs) to include them in their load mixes because of its lower cost situation and considering that it is almost free from worldwide increases in fuel, coal, the dollar exchange rates and Value Added Taxes (VAT).

He added, however, that the October 5 summit is limited to “advocacy and awareness” but did not have sufficient time to tackle details involving the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENECO) on the hounding issues of “justice”; the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) or bidding; 10-year power supply procurement plan; and the immediate renewal of CENECO’s provisional registration with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

Gamboa explained that the summit’s pursuit of renewable energy must be coupled with the pursuit of justice, also, by addressing the very root cause of CENECO’s failure and violation to offer a lower price package for its members-consumers-owners (MCOs) by rejecting the winning Competitive Selection Process or the winning price of P3.29/KwH, the rejection likewise of renewable geothermal at P3.31/KwH and for reason of ill-intention to defraud, he alleges the CENECO BOD illegally extended P5.42/KwH for one year that caused the MCOs misery.

He stressed that the rejection of the lowest CSP winning bid price of P3.29/KwH and the rejection, likewise of the second lowest bidder of P3.31/KwH and the illegal extension at P5.42/KwH, which comprised the “three original sins” that resulted into a “mortal sin” has to be given justice, for CENECO BOD to account for such violation; the resulting “mortal sin” was the recent negotiated contract with Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) at a hefty price of P10.74/KwH purchased in the guise of an emergency when there is no existing force majeur situation.

He also said that part of the immediate solution is for CENECO to immediately conduct the CSP bidding for renewable sources of energy, considering that all Power Supply Agreement (PSA) should undergo and comply with the stringent rules and regulations of the CSP, otherwise, failure to do so could lead again to what the present CENECO BOD did that caused the misery suffered by the MCOs right now.

Gamboa also added that CENECO must reduce its systems loss or pilferages to not over 8 percent of total consumption which is passed-on charges reflected in the MCOs monthly billing; currently, CENECO systems loss is now ranging at 14 to 16 percent which is over the allowed maximum cap of 8 percent.

He likewise explained that CENECO BOD should develop a Ten-Year Power Supply Procurement Plan from the CSP bidding period to the proposed contract period and to the proposed schedule of supply – which should guide their decisions in getting the “least cost or price” of electricity and the “most responsive” for the benefit of the impoverished MCOs.

Gamboa finally reiterated the immediate renewal of the CENECO provisional registration with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) dated May 4, 2000, under the Cooperative Code of the Philippines (R.A. 6938) with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) still exercising its supervision and regulation over CENECO as a duly registered cooperative.

He explained that CENECO, for its part, shall immediately conduct “cooperativization capacity building” for its MCOs.

Gamboa quoted that “Just like water, water is life; electricity is a means ‘to life’ and must not be made as a means of raking profits by the capitalists therefore should be owned by the consumers themselves.”

The DAILY STAR reached out to a CENECO representative but was unable to get a comment on the matter as of press time.*

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