Local News: ERC Transfers Public Hearing of CENECO Rate Increase Application
The Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) has decided favorably to the request of two partylist congressmen and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia to transfer the hearing on the application for rate increase of CENECO. from ERC main office in Manila to Bacolod City. ERC considers the request valid, that instead of conducting the hearing at ERC-Manila, it should be conducted in Bacolod City instead. Requesting parties for the transfer of hearing venue are Partylist Congressmen Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño, with Mayor Leonardia. instead. Requesting parties for the transfer of hearing venue are Partylist Congressmen Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño, with Mayor Leonardia.
Opposing solons and Mayor Leonardia have similar grounds for their request. It is impractical on the part of Bacolodnons to spend money going to Manila just to attend the hearing at ERC main office, it was pointed out.
Leonardia’s letter to ERC states that the proposed rate increase is anti-consumer and is unreasonable.
Colmenares said, "I am glad that ERC has granted the urgent request I and Rep. Teddy Casino filed with the ERC for the transfer of the Ceneco hearings on the latest application for rate increases to Bacolod City. Conducting the hearing in Bacolod City will be a great advantage to Bacolodnons, Cong. Colmenares said. "We see no reason, why it should be heard in Manila, which is far from those who will be affected by the increases. Considering the public interest involved, it is but proper for the ERC to grant our request for the transfer of venue to Bacolod," the solons also said.
The move of Colmenares and Casiño was prompted by Bayan Muna Negros Chairman Alejandro "Bundo" Deoma after he learned that CENECO’s hearing will be conducted in Manila which is unfavorable to the CENECO consumers who want to participate in the hearing.
They also argued that "the transfer of hearing venue is not intended to deprive CENECO of its right to apply for rate increases but rather to allow its consumers the right and the opportunity to be an active participant in the hearings for the said application."
While brownouts still happen coupled with the threat of the possible spread of the energy crisis in Mindanao to the Visayas, "we continue to pay high rates for our electricity." Pres. Noynoy Aquino is dead wrong when he said that "we have to pay good money to get good service for our electricity. We have been paying very steep power cost for a long time without getting good service. "While we will oppose the CENECO application, let us not lose sight of the larger battle involving the repeal of the EPIRA law," said Colmenares. "We must persist in pressuring the government to resolve this never-ending energy crisis and high electricity rates. The people must pressure Congress to repeal the EPIRA law and implement long-term reform in the energy sector." Bayan Muna has authored a bill repealing the EPIRA law and has been asking people from all over the country to lobby with their respective congressmen to support the bill.
Deoma vowed to organize consumer opposition against the CENECO application. "The consumers have been paying high prices for CENECO inefficiency, systems loss and even perks of the CENECO board."
It must be recalled that CENECO has not increased the power charges to its consumers for quite sometime.As a matter of fact, CENECO has the lowest rate in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Considering the continued increase of power rates from the source due to increase of fuel prices, CENECO is compelled to increase the consumers’ rate for reasins they need to justify," the oppositors averred.*