LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Municipal officials strong urged the National electrification Administration (NEA) and the interim Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to immediately call for the election or selection of the regular members of the electric cooperative’s policy-making body to put to rest issues on the proper representation of the member-consumer-owners (MCOs) with the highest governing body.
Under Resolution No. 199, series of 2023, the municipal council stated that electing the regular members of the Board of Directors of the electric cooperative would certainly resolve related issues and questions affecting the operation and management of BENECO.
Previously, BENECO was governed by an 11-member Board of Directors pursuant to Section 1, Article VI of the electric cooperative’s constitution and by laws. The said 11-member of the board of Directors are chosen by the consumers through democratically called elections.
According to the said resolution, the consumers are fully aware of the problems besetting BENECO over the past several years through the various social and mainstream media, thus, people are well aware of such issues on the management, increase in power rates and how NEA handled the said issues and concerns.
Earlier, the NEA Board of Administrators through Resolution No. RB 03-2023 dated January 10, 2023 confirmed the creation of ‘Task Force BENECO’ to act as the interim Board of Directors of the electric cooperative.
Pursuant to the aforesaid resolution, a chairperson and 4 members were appointed as the interim board comprising the said task force.
However, the council claimed that the NEA-BOA resolution did not specify the tenure or term of the task force that prompted the consumers to raise the said issue during the several general membership assemblies that were organized last month.
Moreover, the council pointed out that the intention of BENECO’s constitution and by-laws is that the electric cooperative will be governed by democratically elected members of the Board of Directors and that as members of the interim board, Task Force BENECO implies a specific and limited function, thus, the need for the NEA and the interim board to already schedule the election and selection of the regular board who will be chosen by the consumers during an exercise that will be called for the purpose.
The approved resolution will be furnished the Benguet provincial board, the Baguio city council and the municipal councils of the other 12 towns in the province for their information, guidance and support.
Further, the same resolution will be transmitted to the NEA-BOA and the interim board for their information and further needed action in the future.
BENECO was able to regain its Class AAA status after it was downgraded to a Class C electric cooperative because of the leadership impasse that confronted the cooperative for more than a year.
BENECO is among the few electric cooperatives in the country that charge its consumers with the cheapest power rate despite the existence of non-viable areas that it serves within its franchise area.
Local officials expressed hope that the NEA and the interim board will positively act on the aforesaid resolution considering the snowballing clamor from the consumers on the need to conduct the elections for them to select their representatives to the Board of Directors.
BENECO’s franchise area is divided into 11 districts where 6 districts are in Baguio City while 5 districts are in Benguet.