BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) disclosed there will be a fifty-percent reduction in the power rates charged to consumers once the electric cooperative will source its power supply from renewable sources of energy owned or co-owned by the cooperative.
BENECO general manager Melchor S. Licoben said that to date, the projected 50-percent power rate reduction is improbable because almost 100 percent of the electric cooperative’s power supply come from coal-fired power generators, such as the Sual-based Tokyo Energy and Marubeni (TEAM) Energy Corporation.
He pointed out one of the major thrusts of the electric cooperative to sustain its cheap, affordable and reliable electricity, is to aggressively pursue the implementation of assorted types of renewable energy projects to help provide cheap sources of power that will translate to lower power rates for the consumers as envisioned by former general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa.
At present, BENECO is speeding up the completion of its 3-megawatt minihydro power plant in Man-asok, Sebang, Buguias and is also preparing the ground works for its proposed 1-megawatt solar energy project in Tuba, Benguet.
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Licoben admitted that Benguet is one of the provinces in the country that is rich with potential sources of renewable energy that should be tapped in close partnership with the indigenous peoples and the local governments so that the benefits of the implementation of renewable energy projects will be realized by the host and neighboring communities that are situated within the renewable energy facilities.
The BENECO official the generation charge that will be collected from the consumers could drop to as low as P1.50 per kilowatt-hour once the source of power of the rural electric cooperative will be purely renewable energy from the different parts of its franchise area as the same is clean and reliable.
According to him, BENECO will prioritize the put up of renewable sources of energy as evidenced by the creation of the Power Generation Department mandated to work on the details of the proposed renewable energy projects for the electric cooperative pursuant to its short, medium and long-term development plans.
Licoben stated BENECO is setting its sights on putting up renewable energy plants in identified suitable sites for such plants, aside from working on partnerships with renewable power companies that have established rights over potential renewable energy sites in the different parts of Benguet.
Apart from its 3-megawatt minihydro project in Buguias, BENECO partnered with the Onjon ni Kasikuran Shi Kabayan (ONKASKA), the duly recognized indigenous peoples organization in Kabayan, for the put up of a 20-megawatt hydro project in Kabayan but one of the major hindrances to the aforesaid project is that the service contract for hydro development is owned by a private company that attempted to establish the desired plant in the area and not the indigenous peoples whose ancestral domain it is located that should benefit from the rich resources that they were able to care for a number of decades now.
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