wants 20 MW CENECO tender stopped in favor of better terms for
February 15, 2021
MANILA – The Negros
chapter of nationwide consumers' movement Konsyumer on Monday called
on to the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and relevant
energy agencies to put a stop to an ongoing tender of the electric
cooperative (EC), citing the use of Terms of Reference (TOR)
unfavorable to consumers and lack of transparency in the bidding
process as in need of proper amendments before bids should be
allowed to push through.
The biggest EC of Negros
Occidental is holding a competitive selection process (CSP) for a
power requirement of 20 MW, assumed to be in time for the expiration
of its 64 MW Power Supply Agreement (PSA) with a coal power plant in
Naga, Cebu, owned by KEPCO-SPC.
“We are finally getting
off, though only partially, paying for costly and dirty electricity
from coal. But before we can even celebrate this, we are concerned
that CENECO is already preparing to expose us once more to
electricity that is not least-cost, and we are not even given the
chance to properly be informed on and participate in the process,"
said Griderick Alila, Coordinator of Konsyumer Negros.
Earlier this month,
Konsyumer Negros formally filed a letter addressed to CENECO
protesting the conduct of the tender and calling for its suspension.
The group noted that the TOR and documents guiding the selection
process have not even been posted publicly as mandated by DOE even
as the target electricity delivery date of February 26 looms close.
“Consumers have the right
to know and should have a say on what kind of electricity we are
paying for. This is especially true in this time of crisis when
costs of basic needs continue to rise while means of living for many
are still down. So far, however, our concerns have only been met by
silence," he said.
The group’s call was
supported by the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED),
a Quezon City based think-tank that has been working together with
Konsyumer and a broad alliance of Negrosanons under the banner of
the REpower Negros Movement in advocating for the island's power
sector transformation. CEED in December released a policy brief
examining faults and lessons from the power procurement processes of
Metro Manila distribution utility MERALCO, which are now also
observed in the CENECO tender.
“The 20 MW tender fails to
set in place straight energy pricing, guaranteed supply availability
requirement, and better force majeure provisions, including dispute
settlement mechanism – all of which will benefit its consumers.
These could protect them from additional costs in unpredictable
times like the pandemic. The tender also creates unnecessary
barriers for renewable energy firms that could provide cheaper
electricity with little cost to the environment, many of whom can be
found locally and are in fact struggling with oversupply, since the
current inter-island grid set-up is incapable of absorbing all
electricity they produce," said Avril De Torres, Research, Policy,
and Law Program Head of CEED.
Konsyumer filed another
set of letters today to follow-up on the call for a suspension of
the tender, addressed to CENECO and offices of the Department of
Energy (DOE), National Electrification Administration (NEA), the
Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (TPBAC), and the Negros
Electric Cooperatives Association (NECA).
“Our home island abounds
in clean and affordable renewable energy sources, which we hope
CENECO and all other electric cooperatives would tap before looking
elsewhere and forcing consumers to pay for dirty, overpriced
electricity. Konsyumer Negros will not back down until this and our
many other concerns on the tender are addressed. CENECO and our
energy regulators may expect to continue hearing from us," said