BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) is contemplating on turning over to the local government the management of the over 8,000 streetlights considering the enormous expenses incurred by the cooperative and the inability of the city to perform its obligation under an agreement for the conversion of its streetlights to the state-of-the-art Light Emitting Diode (LED).
BNECO Network Services Department Manager Engr. Melchor Licoben said that since 2013 to date, the cooperative already spent some P25.7 million for the maintenance and operation of streetlights in the city aside from the fact that 40 percent of daily responses done are for the city’s streetlights.
After spending P6.2 million in the initial stage of the implementation of the agreement in 2013, BENECO spent P4.7 million for the maintenance of the city’s streetlights in 2014, P4.5 million in 2015, P4.3 million in 2016, P3.8 million in 2017 and more than P2 Million for the first 10 months of this year.
Under the terms and conditions of the BENECO and city government agreement, the cooperative will temporarily manage the city’s streetlights which will be paid for 12 burning hours and that the same will be turned over to the local government when the city will be able to convert its streetlight fixtures to LED pursuant to Resolution No. 446, series of 2011.
“Our efforts to continue improving our distribution system to ensure the sustainable delivery of quality and reliable power to our consumers has been greatly compromised because nearly fifty percent of our crew attend to complaints on the existing streetlights in the city” Licoben stressed.
According to him, the agreement is now entering its 6th year but it seems the local government is not inclined to convert its streetlights to LED as earlier planned which is already disadvantageous to the delivery of quality services by the personnel of the cooperative, thus, the plan to already return the maintenance and operation of the city’s streetlights to the local government if no concrete action will be done in complying with the terms of the agreement.
He claimed that BENECO officials will try a last ditch effort to reach out to local officials on the matter to put an end to the issue so that the local government will be compelled to fastrack the long overdue bidding process for the conversion of the city’s streetlights to LED before the cooperative will decide to seek possible remedies to rescind the agreement.
Licoben presented the status of the maintenance of streetlights to the members of the Multi-Sectoral electrification Advisory Committee (MSEAC) federation of Baguio City during its general assembly held at the BENECO multipurpose hall along South Drive Road.
He explained that BENECO’s decision to temporarily takeover the maintenance of the city’s streetlights is part of its corporate social responsibility but the same should not be forever considering that the cooperative needs its manpower and resources to do significant tasks that will contribute in efforts to improve its existing distribution system that will translate to the benefit of consumer’s through reduced systems loss and the delivery of quality and reliable power to their homes.