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Let the courts decide – MORE Power exec on JVA case

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

MORE Power Inc. president Roel Castro welcomed the case to nullify the Joint Venture Agreement signed between the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and Primelectric Holdings Inc.

In a statement, Castro said “we welcome this, and let the court decide.”

MORE Power and Primelectric Holdings Inc. are sister companies owned by business tycoon Enrique Razon.

Consumer advocates Rommel Pido, Aaron Sorbito, and former Rep. Pete Pico, representing the Negros Consumers Watch and Anti-CENECO JVA Coalition, with legal counsels Atty. Wax Apawan and Atty. Rey Gorgonio, filed a Declaratory Relief and Declaration of Nullity against the JVA between Primelectric and CENECO on June 16.

The filing also includes an application for the issuance of a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

As long as there is no court order, we will continue to prepare for the plebiscite and the conduct of IEC (Information, Education Campaign), together with CENECO, Castro further said.

The JVA plebiscite is scheduled on June 24 and 25, as well as July 1 and 2.

CENECO and Primelectric Holdings, Inc./Negros Electric Power Corporation (NEPC) signed the JVA on June 3, which is aimed at improving power distribution service in the cooperative’s franchise areas.

Atty. Arnel Lapore, acting general manager of the power cooperative, said the JVA gives CENECO “the opportunity to modernize its facilities, address the frequent brownouts and tame the system losses of the electric cooperative reaching P15 million to P20 million monthly.”

On the other hand, Castro said Primelectric Holdings Inc. will tap renewable energy from Negros Island to help bring down power rates within the CENECO coverage area.

The commitment was declared by Castro, MORE Power president and chief executive officer, during a meeting with Bacolod City officials led by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.

Power rates are dictated by generation which we have no control of, Castro said, citing the unstable prices of coal and oil which affect power rates.

“We will try to shift towards renewable energy so that it will not be affected. It will not happen overnight. It will go through a process. They asked for assurance from us. We are sincere in bringing positive change for the consumers,” Castro stressed.*

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