BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) continuous to focus its direction on two major thrusts, technology and engagement in renewable energy development, to contribute in its efforts to deliver cheap and quality power to its increasing number of consumers.
BENECO general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa said that the rural electric cooperative indulged in the development of its automated metering infrastructure (AMI), a top of the line system that enhances data capture on real time data about power consumption wherein it will allow the full measurement of energy used based on smart meters at the customer site which are easily accessible by a communication network between the customer and the cooperative.
He asserted that BENECO also took the bold step of volunteering its fibber optics to be used for the government’s free wi-fi internet access in public places project.
Earlier, experts from the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) visited BENECO’s fibber optics and were impressed that the cooperative could deliver for Baguio city and Benguet the lines that are needed for the link.
Verzosa claimed that BENECO was the first electric cooperative in the country that got the DICT’s interest going wherein there are already 10 government agencies enjoying free internet connection courtesy of its fibber optic.
However, once the system will be in full swing, BENECO will not hesitate to provide internet connections to all schools and other institutions within its franchise areas.
On the other hand, Verzosa explained that the second thrust underscores BENECO’s bid to engage in power generation by tapping the renewable energy resources within its franchise area.
Currently, the electric cooperative is pursing the construction of the 3-megawatt minihydro power plant in Sebang, Buguias and that the said project is still in the works.
“But what comes as equally existing is getting the consent of the indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities of Kabayan for the development of a 20-megawatt and a separate 10-megawatt hydro facility in the town,” Verzosa stressed.
The BENECO official emphasized that the looming partnership between the electric cooperative and the IP organization of Kabayan is anchored on the IPs’ well recognized right to dictate how their natural resources should be used and developed pursuant to the exercise of priority rights which Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) has guaranteed for the IPs.
Last June 142019, BENECO and the Onjon ni Kasikuran shi Kabayan (ONKASKA) entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would mutually benefit the cooperative and the communities wherein the proposed project will assure the member-consumer-owners a lot from employment and taxes to the local government to cheaper electric rates.
Verzosa reported the matter to the 39th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of the rural electric cooperative which was held at the Baguio Athletic Bowl last Saturday.
BENECO is one of the top performing rural electric cooperative in the country because of its single digit systems loss and close to 100 percent collection efficiency.
By Dexter A. See