BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Central Negros Electric Cooperative and Power Watch Negros Advocates Inc. will enter into a memorandum of understanding to safeguard the consumers of the utility firm.
The MOU states that, considering the worsening energy situation, massive unemployment, and economic recession amid the pandemic, there is an urgent need for consultations between the consumers and management of the cooperative to address issues and concerns in the power industry.
It said that, after affirming and adopting the concept paper of the Power Advocacy Consultative Council dated August 25, 2020, and the PACC Briefing Paper dated November 27, 2020, it was approved in principle that these position papers be included as an appendage to the MOU.
It added that PACC aims to engender the ability of consumers to exercise freedom of action and evaluate the economic impact relevant to their participations in the decision-making process vis-à-vis the policy direction of Ceneco.
Recognizing the perennial problems of escalating rates and outages in the power industry, it is imperative that there should be a mechanism that will serve as a venue to discuss and resolve these problems affecting the Ceneco consumers.
The MOU will serve as a document that will contain directives, advisories, and information to underscore the noble intent and purposes of convening the PACC to define the duties and responsibilities of its members.
Wennie Sancho of Power Watch Negros said the group and Ceneco, in the spirit of partnership, will encourage all stakeholders of the power coop to support the advocacy of the PACC, that all issues and conflicts must be resolved at the bargaining table, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and democratic participation.
The supposed signing of the MOU yesterday between Power Watch and Ceneco, represented by its acting manager, Danny Pondevilla, was postponed after Fr. Ernie Larida, a member of the board of directors of the firm, opposed it, citing the ongoing pandemic, and adding that it needs further study.
Sancho said that while it is prudent to study the MOU, Power Watch Negros strongly suggests that the Ceneco Board should study seriously how to engage in power supply contracting and how to negotiate in terms and conditions that are advantageous to the collective interests of its consumers. He added that, hopefully, the signing will push through this month in order to prevent the excessive, unutilized, and expensive over-contracting of power supply, that is an essential point in their function as representatives of the consumers.*