BAGUIO CITY – The management and the Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) is inviting its member-consumers in the city’s 128 barangays to actively participate in the rural electric cooperative’s Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
The AGMA is a mandatory activity of the rural electric cooperative to provide the member-consumers with updates of its operations and other related issues to be discussed by the BENECO officials with the participation of the member-consumers.
Registration of participants starts at 7 a.m. after which the program will open at 9 a.m. with the preliminary messages from invited national and local guests prior to the conduct of the business meeting.
One of the major activities of the AGMA is the regular raffle draw where attending members from the six districts in the city can win at least 33 minor prizes and the grand prize of one motorcycle each for the district winners.
BENECO officials want the active participation of the member-consumers in the AGMA to meet the initial 5 percent quorum requirement since the National Electrification Administration (NEA) started mandating rural electric cooperatives to guarantee the maximum participation of their member-consumers considering that the quorum requirement will be increased annually until it will reach the required 20 percent of the total number of consumers.
Initially, BENECO conducted its AGMA for northern Benguet at the Paoad Elementary School in Tublay, Benguet last June 2, 2018 with the attendance of over 2,700 consumers while the AGMA for southern Benguet was done at the Benguet State University (BSU) Bokod campus in Bokod, Benguet last June 9, 2018.
Last year, over 1,300 consumers attended the AGMA in Atok, Benguet for the northern Benguet districts, over 1,800 consumers for the AGM in Sablan, Benguet for the southern Benguet districts and some 5,626 consumers for the Baguio districts which was held at the Baguio Convention Center.
Another issue that is expected to be discussed during the AGMA is the revival of the proposal of BENECO management for the registration of the rural electric cooperative with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and its eventual conversion to a stock cooperative wherein the member-consumers will have their own equity based on the payments they have made on their monthly power bills.
Once approved by the assembly, BENECO will conduct a massive information education campaign on the advantages and disadvantages of registering with the CDA after which a referendum will determine the final decision whether to register or not with the CDA.
BENECO attempted thrice to register the rural electric cooperative with the CDA but member-consumers overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to do so considering the projected increase in the power rates that will be collected from them to cover the supposed investments of shareholders who will own the cooperative while those advocating for the registration argue that registering with CDA will translate to the grant of tax exemption to the said cooperative.
By Dexter A. See