MORE Power focused on Ceneco, Iloilo City projects

The President and CEO of MORE Power, Iloilo City’s sole power distributor, is devoting his energy in answering public clamor for better services.

Roel Castro said they can achieve this aim by continuously stabilizing the power distribution grid of Iloilo City and laying the foundation of their joint venture agreement (JVA) with the ailing Central Negros Cooperative (Ceneco) in Negros Occidental.

Ceneco and Primelectric Holdings Inc. of businessman Enrique Razon forged the JVA that led to the establishment of Negros Electric and Power Corp. (NEPC), which Castro will also head.

The two parties signed the agreement middle of 2023 and was ratified by Ceneco consumers during a series of plebiscite votes in July to August 2023.

The plebiscite results indicated that 98,591 votes, or 55.53 percent, of the 177,737 eligible voters approved the venture, way more than the 88,870 majority threshold.

Under the JVA, NEPC will acquire 70 percent of Ceneco’s assets and will initially inject more than P1.4 billion to improve its distribution services.

The venture is seen to benefit over 200,000 customers in the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Talisay; and the towns of Don Salvador Benedicto and Murcia.

Castro said his energies were more focused on Iloilo City where MORE Power was just operating for four years only.

He clarified there was never any plan to take over Ceneco’s franchise area.

“To put it in proper perspective, our expansion to Bacolod was asked by the consumers so it was not like we just wanted to take over the city. I would like to focus on our commitments here in Iloilo City. The expansion was led by the clamor of the people,” Castro said.

The relative success of the Ceneco JVA brought to fore MORE Power’s bid to expand its operations to Iloilo province, particularly in the second and fourth districts which are under the service areas of three Iloilo Electric Cooperatives or Ilecos.

MORE Power has succeeded in amending its congressional franchise (Republic Act 11212) to expand its coverage areas.

But there are still some requirements that MORE Power must comply before it can expand to the province.

“This will be the first time in the Philippines that two franchises in an area will compete and Congress wants to see if it will be good or not good. We initially invested P1.5 billion. I would say that initially, it will connect us to 15 areas, but it will still depend on the take up of the demand,” Castro explained.

For now, Castro said they are focusing on Ceneco where they earmarked P4 billion to modernize its system.

“So right now, we are not yet looking for another expansion because we will finish Bacolod first. There is still a long way to go, we still have Congress, we still have ERC, and then there is more before the actual takeover,” he added.

About Iloilo Today

News and Media Blog in Iloilo City, Philippines.

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