BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) joined the ranks of energy providers using the latest technology by adopting advance metering infrastructure (AMI) to significantly improve its system in delivering quality power to the consumers and contributing in efforts to lower power rates.
Engr. Melchor Licoben, department manager of BENECO’s Network Services Department, explained the AMI is a 2-pronged approach to improve the company’s distribution system translating to lower single digit systems loss further resulting to lower and cheaper power rates charged to the consumers.
BENECO is now installing Smart meters as a first approach to its top 1,000 accounts having a monthly consumption of more than 10,000 kilowatthours that guarantees the online reading of their monthly consumption while the second approach is the installation of pre-paid meters to some 1,000 residential consumers including BENECO employees and at least three of their relatives and other interested consumers for the pilot testing of the pre-paid application.
Initially, Licoben reported some 300 commercial accounts already had Smart meters installed in them and the rest of the big commercial accounts will be installed the needed meters by next year to meet at least a one-percent reduction in the prevailing systems loss of the cooperative.
On the other hand, the installation of pre-paid meters to the houses of BENECO employees and their relatives will be implemented next year.
Currently, BENECO has an average systems loss of 8.6 percent from January to October this year which is much lower than the 14 percent cap imposed by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
Licoben pointed out of the prevailing systems loss, 50 percent is due to non-technical loss that the cooperative is trying to continuously reduce through the implementation of various interventions for the benefit of consumers through lowered charges.
BENECO also entered into an agreement with the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) for the pilot testing of its application that will complement the cooperative’s pre-paid metering project to address the issues and concerns due non-technical losses which are being passed on to the consumers.
“We will continue to implement the needed interventions to continuosly improve the cooperative’s distribution system that will redound to lower rates for consumers. We will also continue to venture on the latest technology for this purpose without compromising the delivery of quality power to the consumers,” Licoben stressed.
Under its agreement with KEPCO, the company is given six months to pilit test its pre-paid system to selected residential consumers in the city afterwhich the effectivity and efficiency of the system will be assessed and once it will be successful, BENECO will have the option to buyout the system for implementation in its franchise area starting with the consumers of Baguio City, particularly in populated communities.
By Dexter A. See