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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Poe backs franchise bids of power utilities in Leyte, Romblon, Negros Occidental

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To avert massive brownouts, Senator Grace Poe has called on her colleagues in the Senate to approve the franchise bids of three power distribution utilities in the provinces of Leyte, Romblon and Negros Occidental.

Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services, sponsored in the plenary three bills that would grant franchises to the Leyte II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Leyeco II), Romblon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (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.

The senator stressed that demand is high for distribution utilities to fulfill their obligation as public service providers to 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 (ECs) since 2015.

Meanwhile, under House Bill No. 9154, Romelco seeks to include in its franchise area the island municipalities of Banton, Corcuera, 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 EC since 2016 and a model for its renewable energy efforts.

At present, Romelco’s power mix is composed of 27 percent renewable energy sourced from their hydropower plant, wind turbines, biomass power plant and solar rooftops. Its goal is to source 90 percent 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.

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.

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