BAGUIO CITY – The National Electrification Administration (NEA) commended the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) for venturing into power generation by engaging in the put up of its own 3-megawatt minihydro project to help lower the cost of power to its consumers and its significant accomplishments in key factors of the power industry.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong underscored that electricity is a major economic driver, especially in rural areas that need such activities to provide additional jobs and sources of livelihood for the people in the said areas, thus, Beneco was able to successfully fulfill its mandate based on its existing status as one of the established rural electric cooperatives in the country.
He pointed out that the decision of Beneco to partner with the indigenous peoples (IPs) for the put up of its 3-megawatt Man-asok minihydro project and the upcoming establishment of its hydro project in Kabayan to help in sustaining the cheap cost of power for its consumers is worthy of emulation by other similarly situated rural electric cooperatives to contribute in efforts in increasing economic activities in the countryside.
Further, Beneco was also able to continue reducing its systems loss to 8.55 percent much lower than the standard systems loss of 14 percent pegged by the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9163 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) aside from recording a 99.9 percent collection efficiency of its existing accounts.
The NEA chief stated that the main goal of the government’s rural electrification program is to bring quality power to the remotes village and to the farthest household to help spur economic activities that will serve as sources of livelihood of people in the countryside.
According to him, Beneco must continue to introduce the needed inovations in its power distribution system to further help in lowering the cost of power being charged to its rapidly increasing number of consumers and guarantee quality power being distributed to the residential, commercial and industrial consumers.
Masongsong also lauded Beneco for partnering with an internet provider to help in bringing to the city reliable internet services that will improve the linkage of Baguio to the world through the worldwide web.
Masongsong claimed that Beneco is lucky to have a formidable team of experts in the power industry led by general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa for continuously introducing desired changes to be at part with and even over industry standards for the benefit of being able to lower the power cost being charged to consumers aside from ensring the reliability of its system.
He claimed that BeNECO is one of the rural electric cooperatives that is being benchmarked by other cooperatives in the country because of its enormous achievments that it was able to garner over the past several decades, especially in significantly improving its status to one of the country’s best rural electric cooperatives despite its situation of having to energize non-viable areas within its franchise area.
Beneco’s franchise to be the exclusive power distribution utility in Baguio and Benguet is expected to expire in 2028 but the same must be renewed through act of Congress before its expiration.
By Dexter A. See