BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to reconsider its earlier unilateral decision to turnover to the local government the management and operation of the city’s streetlights.
The approval of the resolution came after local officials received numerous complaints from residents and barangay officials on the unattended streetlights in their places over the past several weeks since the management and operation of the streetlights was turned over to the city effective February 26, 2019.
At the same time, the local legislative body extended an invitation to the members of the BENECO Board of Directors, officials of the City Engineering Office (CEO) and the representative of the City Mayor’s Office to shed light on the matter considering that there are increasing complaints from the residents and barangays on the failure of the City Engineering Office to attend to their complaints on busted streetlights in their places.
The resolution argued that the appropriation of the maintenance and operation of streetlights and the purchase of streetlight fixtures to replace busted ones were not included in the annual budget of the local government this year that is why the CEO will definitely encounter serious problems on the maintenance and operation of the over 8,500 streetlights around the city considering the alleged premature turnover of the same to the city.
Earlier, the BENECO Board of Directors decided to turnover to the local government the management and operation of the city’s streetlights because the electric cooperative reportedly suffered from heavy losses over the past six years of performing the task of maintaining and operating the city’s streetlights aside from the fact that 40 percent of their daily transactions concern the operation of streetlights in the city’s 128 barangays.
BENECO and the local government entered into a memorandum of agreement for the former to manage and operate the city’s streetlights until such time that the city will be able to convert its streetlighting system to the state-of-the-art Light Emitting Diode (LED).
However, the local government was not able to convert its streetlight system to LED despite the passage of Resolution No. 446, series of 20111 which outlined the terms of reference on how to convert the city’s streetlights to LED.
BENECO claimed that it was already able to spend over P25 million over the past 6 years for the maintenance and operation of the city’s streetlights which significantly affected their programs to continue upgrading its power distribution system to allow the same to conform with the prevailing trend of the time that will ensure the reliability of the system to deliver quality power to the consumers.
The local government decided to convert its streetlight system to LED to help in efforts to save on its annual expenses in maintaining and operating the increasing number of streetlights in the city’s 128 barangays.
Local legislators are optimistic that the local legislative body will be able to convince the members of the Board of Directors to reconsider their decision to turnover the city’s streetlights to the local government unilaterally.
By Dexter A. See