May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Poe seeks OK of distribution utilities franchises for stable power

SENATOR Grace Poe has called on her colleagues in the Senate to give their nod to the franchise bids of three power distribution utilities in the provinces of Leyte, Romblon and Negros Occidental to avert brownouts.

Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services, sponsored in plenary three bills that would grant franchises to power distribution utilities Leyte II Electric Cooperative (Leyeco II), Romblon Electric Cooperative (Romelco), and Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).

“As the heat index in the country remains dangerously high and is projected to continue rising at the peak of the summer season and amid El Niño, there is no more fitting time than today, to present, for the Senate’s consideration, three measures that will ensure our power consumers continued access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy,” Poe said.

“Lalong lalo na sa gitna ng malawakan at dumadalas na brownout at power interruptions sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa na patuloy na nagpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

The senator stressed that the demand is high for distribution utilities to fulfill their obligation as public service providers as they deliver electricity to the end users.

The franchise application of Leyeco II, contained in House Bill No. 6295, seeks to continue providing power service to the residents of Tacloban City, Babatngon and Palo in Leyte.

A mega large, triple ‘A’ rated and multi-awarded electric cooperative, Leyeco II has consistently topped the National Electrification Administration’s (NEA) overall performance assessment of electric cooperatives since 2015.

It is also classified as a Green cooperative for meeting all performance standards and parameters including systems loss, System Average Interruption Frequency Index, and System Average Interruption Duration Index ratings. It also boasts having the lowest power rate per kilowatt hour among electric cooperatives in Region 8.

Meanwhile, under House Bill No. 9154, Romelco seeks to include in its franchise area the island municipalities of Banton, Cocuera, and Concepcion in addition to its existing coverage in Romblon’s capital and Sibuyan Island under its unexpired NEA franchise.

Romelco is also a consistent triple ‘A’ rated electric cooperative since 2016 and a model for its renewable energy efforts.

At present, Romelco’s power mix is composed of 27% renewable energy sourced from their hydropower plant, wind turbines, biomass powerplant and solar rooftops. Its goal

is to source 90% of its energy from renewables in the next five years.

As for NEPC under House Bill No. 9805, Poe said the measure was borne out of public clamor for better power service in Negros Occidental.

It seeks to grant a franchise to NEPC, a partnership formed through the joint venture agreement between Primelectric, the same parent company of Iloilo’s MORE Power, and Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO), the existing power distribution utility in the cities of Bacolod, Bago and Silay and the Municipalities of Murcia and Talisay in Negros Occidental.

“Kinikilala natin ang mga nagawa ng CENECO sa limang dekada nitong serbisyo sa mga member-consumers sa Negros. Undeniably, through these years, there has been remarkable growth in Western Visayas which included CENECO’s franchise area. However, as demand for power continues to increase, CENECO was unable to keep up with the challenges,” Poe said.

“Amid these difficulties, NEPC has expressed its readiness and willingness to invest capital to modernize the distribution system and address the operational challenges. We believe this investment would benefit not only the franchise area but also the power sector and the Philippine economy in general,” she added.

Poe said her sponsorship of the bills reflects her optimism that the operation of the distribution utilities will pave the way for more expansive power service in the country.

“Hangad nating wala ng batang mag-aaral sa liwanag ng kandila o gasera at wala ng magulang ang mapupuyat kakapaypay sa kanilang mga anak,” Poe said.