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Negros Power Franchise Bill Clears Final Hurdle: Awaiting Presidential Approval

Negros Power Franchise Bill Clears Final Hurdle: Awaiting Presidential Approval

Congress has concurred with the approved amendments made by the Senate to House Bill 9805, which pertains to the Negros Power Franchise Bill.

The Philippine House of Representatives, on Wednesday, May 22, gave its nod of approval to the amended Senate version of House Bill 9805, a significant piece of legislation that grants a franchise to the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC). This decision marks a pivotal moment in the process of this bill’s journey to becoming a law.

House Bill 9805, backed by the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, faced no opposition to the Senate’s amendments from its authors. This unanimous acceptance is noteworthy as it eliminates the often necessary step of convening a Bicameral Conference Committee, which typically serves to reconcile any conflicting provisions of a bill, potentially delaying its progression.

With this hurdle cleverly sidestepped, the bill is now on a direct path to the Office of the President, where it awaits possible signing to officially transform it into law, a significant milestone in any legislative journey.

The passage of this bill carries significant implications for power distribution services within Bacolod and Central Negros. The franchise granted to NEPC will enable the corporation to take over the power distribution services from the Central Negros Electric Cooperative in several key areas, including Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, Bago, Murcia, and Don Salvador Benedicto.

The Need for Change

CENECO has faced widespread criticism for frequent brownouts, high electricity rates, and poor service. According to Senator Grace Poe, CENECO has been operating at a negative profit margin and has failed to pay its debts on time, leading to poor performance in various operational aspects. This has fueled public demand for better power distribution services, paving the way for NEPC’s entry.

Negros Power Franchise Bill Clears Final Hurdle: Awaiting Presidential Approval

The Negros Power Franchise Bill has received approval from both houses of Congress and is now set to enter the next phase of its development.

NEPC’s Commitment

NEPC President Roel Castro emphasized that while there won’t be a quick fix to high power rates, the company is prepared to invest over PHP 2 billion to improve the power distribution system over the next five years. This investment will focus on modernizing infrastructure and enhancing service quality, addressing long-standing issues faced by consumers.

Preparing for the Transition

NEPC has already started laying the groundwork for its operations. The company has spent over PHP 100 million on new meters, posts, and wires, and has nearly completed its temporary office in Robinsons East. Out of CENECO’s 400+ employees, around 230 have expressed their intention to join NEPC, ensuring a smooth transition.

Expectations for NEPC’s Operations

Once the bill is signed into law, NEPC will be responsible for constructing, operating, and maintaining the power distribution network within its franchise area. Key expectations include:

    Improved Reliability:

    NEPC aims to reduce power outages and ensure a continuous electricity supply by investing in infrastructure upgrades and regular maintenance.

    Affordable Rates:

    The franchise bill mandates NEPC to provide electricity at reasonable rates, aiming to alleviate the financial burden on consumers.

    Enhanced Service Quality:

    With modern systems and efficient management, NEPC plans to offer better customer service and quicker response times to issues.

Negros Power Franchise Bill Clears Final Hurdle: Awaiting Presidential Approval

House Bill 9805, supported by the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, encountered no objections from its authors to the amendments made by the Senate.

Public Involvement and Transparency

For NEPC to succeed, transparency and public participation will be crucial. Residents can expect clear communication from NEPC regarding its plans and operations, opportunities to voice their concerns through public hearings, and strong consumer protection measures to address any service or billing issues.

A Brighter Future for Negros Power

The approval of the Negros Power Franchise Bill is a promising development for the residents of Bacolod and Central Negros. While challenges remain, the investment and commitment from NEPC offer hope for a more reliable and affordable power supply. As the region transitions to a new power provider, the focus will be on ensuring that NEPC meets its obligations and delivers on its promise of better service for all.

The Blue Ink

Dhadha Garcia is a lifestyle blogger from Bacolod, PH. She is a mompreneur, a full-time blogger, and a content creator. She started blogging in 2007 and became one of the pioneers of the Negrense Blogging Society, Inc. (NBSI) in 2009, where she has received several awards and nominations for her blogs. She also writes at www.twenteenmom.com and www.classysweets.com.

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