BAGUIO CITY– The power rates of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) for July is still much lower compared to the power rates of the giant Manila electric and Railways Corporation (MERALCO) amidst the latter’s announcement on the reduction of their charges to their consumers.
Based on a comparative data on the power rates of the electric cooperative and the power distribution utility, BENECO’s residential power rate for July is pegged at P7.99 per kilowatthour compared to Meralco’s announced rate of P8.966 per kilowatthour.
In June, BENECO’s residential power rate was P7.76 per kilowatthour compared to the P8.72 per kilowatthour of the biggest power distribution utility in the country.
Local power industry sources claimed that despite the presence of numerous non-viable areas within BENECO’s franchise area being provided with cheap and quality power through the facilities of the electric cooperative, it is still able to offer cheap power rates to its 170,000 member-consumer-owners compared to MERALCO which reportedly does not service non-viable areas within Metro Manila and other neighboring regions aside from having nearly 2 million consumers.
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For the over a decade now, BENECO was able to maintain its status as one of the Class AAA electric cooperatives hat continues to have one of the cheapest power rates among the 121 rural electric cooperatives and a number of power distribution utilities operating in the different parts of the country.
Further, BENECO had been reaping numerous awards on having one of the cheapest power rates, maintenance of single digit systems loss for a good number of years, 100 percent collection efficiency, model headquarters and the aggressive implementation of the government’s rural electrification program that resulted to the 100 percent energization of the city’s 128 barangays and the 140 barangays in Benguet.
However, some 310 sitios have already been inspected by the technical personnel where the same had been submitted to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for funding to ensure the implementation of the energization projects in the remote villages of the province as part of the obligations of the electric cooperatives to continue bringing cheap and quality power to the countryside.
BENECO was also recognized for pioneering the aggressive implementation of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) before the same was embraced by the national government in 2011.
Industry sources claimed that the BENECO’s cheap power rates only shows that with a reliable power distribution system coupled with the adoption of state-of-the-art information and communication technology systems and with the willingness of officials and employees to embrace change, electric cooperatives can directly compete with private power distribution utilities, especially in providing quality services to their customers and offering cheap rates.
The power rates of both the electric cooperatives and private power distribution utilities are composed of pass through charges that are out of their control and the pass on charges that are used to sustain their operations in their respective franchise areas.
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