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ATOK, Benguet – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) will be formally energizing two remote villages in barangay Topdac that had been funded under the government’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).
BENECO Network Services Department Manager Engr. Ramil Rifani said that some 17 houses in sitio Telmod and Poshongan in barangay Topdac will initially benefit from the energization that will be conducted by the electric cooperative on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
He disclosed that the funds that were used in the implementation of the energization amounting to over P1.9 million was sourced out from the SEP of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in 2018 while the aforesaid project was completed late last year.
The BENECO official claimed that a total of 40 steel poles, some 3.7 kilometers of primary and secondary lines and a transformer were installed in strategic areas leading to the two sitios and the residents of the beneficiaries prior to the energization of the same.
He disclosed that the energization project commenced early last year prior to its completion by November that paved the way for the conduct of the required inspection by NEA personnel prior to energization.
Rifani explained that the energization of the said sitios was supposed to have been done early this year but the same had been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that caused the energization to be scheduled next week.
BENECO General Manager Engr. Melchor S. Licoben said that the energization of the two sitios is just the initial wave of the energization that will be conducted by the electric cooperative in the different parts of the province, especially for the energization projects that had been completed and inspected by the NEA personnel.
Licoben claimed that BENECO will continue to access the necessary funding support from the NEA to continue the SEP in the different parts of the province, particularly the remote villages that had been lined up for the said project but funds for the said purpose this year had been realigned to augment the available government funds for its COVID response operations.
BENECO was able to pioneer the SEP when it obtained a P100 million loan from NEA through the initiative of former General Manager Gerardo P. Verzosa to create a impact in the implementation of energization projects in various sitios around the province before the Aquino administration decided to embark on the same project from 2012 to 2016.
Despite hosting numerous non-viable areas within its franchise area, particularly in Benguet due to the prevailing peculiar terrain, BENECO still remains as one of the few electric cooperatives that charges the cheapest power rates from its consumers where its prevailing rates are much cheaper compared to much bigger electric cooperatives and private distribution utilities operating in viable areas in the different parts of the country.
Further, BENECO was able to maintain its Class AAA status even if it remains to provide power to numerous non-viable communities within its franchise area primarily because of competent management and cooperative member-consumer-owners (MCOs) who bestow their trust and confidence on the way the electric cooperative is being managed. By HENT