The Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is willing to tweak its interruption schedules to ensure a steady supply of electricity to vaccination centers and storage facilities in Baguio City and Benguet once the government’s mass vaccination program gets going for all residents anytime this year.
Melchor Licoben, Beneco OIC general manager, said the electric cooperative is aware of the need to continuously supply power for such facilities to keep the vaccines at desired levels of temperature to remain effective.
Licoben has recently written Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong, Benguet governor Melchor Diclas and the 13 mayors of the province to inform them of this offer so that Beneco could already include the contingency in its business continuity plan.
As of this writing, only Baguio City, Sablan and Kapangan have responded.
Aware of the crucial role the country’s distribution utilities play in the vaccine roll out, the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Electrification Administration (NEA) have urged private electric companies and the country’s 121 electric cooperatives to be power ready.
This includes providing alternative measures to address a system breakdown or shortage of power supply.
“We are closely monitoring the government’s anti-Covid 19 programs so that we will not miss out on our own role as the sole provider of electricity in our franchise area,” Licoben said.
Ramel Rifani, network services department, has allayed fears that Beneco might not be able to cope with the demand for electricity due to its weekly schedule of power interruption.
Rifani explained that member consumers often rant when their lights get cut off, unaware that the interruption is scheduled to enable Beneco to repair and rehabilitate its lines, transformers and other attachments.
“The weekly schedules of power interruption are site specific since we try as much as possible to avoid a massive brown out,” he said.
Rifani said scheduling power interruptions on a weekly basis is a normal measure for all distribution utilities as a one time and big-time schedule would be far more inconvenient to consumers who will have to cope with a wider area of outage and longer period of power restoration.
However, there are power outages that are unscheduled. Rifani said that consumers sometimes would post nasty remarks against Beneco since their area was not included in the schedule of power interruption Beneco releases weekly.
“But this happens when a tree lands on our power lines, a truck collides with our poles or when a big vehicle gets hooked with our cables,” he said, adding that Beneco would often try its best to do the repair so that power will be restored in due time. By Delmar O. Carino