BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The public should access copies of the electric supply agreement between the Central Negros Electric Cooperative and power distributors that were submitted to the National Electrification Administration for review.
This was emphasized by Wennie Sancho of Power Watch Negros yesterday, who added that the public could also request directly from government regulatory agencies the copies of these agreements since these are public documents.
Sancho said the skyrocketing price of electricity is rooted in the power supply contracting process and is the main reason for the unabated rate increase in the monthly electric bills.
He also said that under Article 111, Section 7 of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.
ACCESS TO RECORDS
Sancho added that the same law states that access to official records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions shall be afforded to the citizen, subject to such limitations as maybe provided by law.
Ceneco was issued a Certificate of Permanent Franchise by the NEA pursuant to Presidential Decree 269, or the NEA Decree, issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1973. Ceneco is under the supervision of NEA, all its records on power contracting and related documents, including the minutes of the Board meeting should be made available to the public, he added.
Ceneco is not a private company, it is a cooperative imbued with public interests, Sancho said.
“A distribution utility like Ceneco exercises its market power over a captive market or franchise granted by the State. It is also a cash-rich business with a steady flow of cash revenue guaranteed from the monthly payment of consumers,” Sancho said.
But the DUs charge higher distribution rates and one of the major reasons is “self-dealing transactions in the supply of power or over contracting,” he said.
Recently, Ceneco conducted a bidding for the delivery of its 20-megawatt base load supply in the next 10 years, effective May 26, and was won by Kepco Salcon Power Corporation. This, despite the complaint filed by Konsyumer, an electric consumers’ group, against the current 10-year contract between Kepco and Ceneco on the delivery of the 40-MW base load supply.*