BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Consumers here are moving closer to a historic class suit, possibly a first in the Western Visayas region, against a local power utility after a group of residents has initiated the filing of the charge.
Former city dad Wilson Gamboa Jr told DNX they are seeking the help of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Senator Rafael Tulfo who heads the Senate committee on energy, and sitting Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.
Gamboa said some businessemen are planning to sign the petition seeking the investigation and prosecution of the directors and management officials of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) for a host of issues, among them alleged illegal contract violating a Supreme Court decision, and other decisions and policies they claim have led to higher power rates and will put consumers at a disadvantage.
The letter petition drafted by the group is titled “letter-petition to investigate and prosecute criminally the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. board of directors (CENECO-BOD) and management for signing illegal extensions and an illegal contract and the consequent high cost of electricity, brownout, etc. “
The letter cited the following as some of the grounds for the petition:
- the “illegal” extension of the 20-megawatt Power Supply Agreement with Kepco-Salcon Power Corporation that sold power for P5.42 per kilowatthour to CENECO as against the winning bid of P3.29 per kilowatthour
The petition claimed the decisions of the CENECO officials have led to the unexplained rise of monthly power rates, the strict implementation of the one bill policy, and the availment of a P135 million loan to be shouldered by the consumers.
CENECO officials did answer calls from DNX when sought for comment.