BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) assured the local government that electric poles that are affected by the implementation of government infrastructure projects will be immediately relocated to safer places the soonest after the public works department and the energy department issued a joint circular to address the perennial problem of unattended poles affected by road and other infrastructure projects.
BENECO general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa informed the members of the City Council in last Monday’s regular session that there is no more problem in the requests for transfer of electric poles that are affected by government infrastructure projects because the DPWH-DOE joint circular guaranteed the payment of the labour and materials that will be incurred by the cooperative in the transfer of its electric poles to safer places.
Considering that BENECO’s operation is endowed with public service, Verzosa explained that BENECO immediately relocates its electric poles that will be affected by government projects to allow the speedy implementation of the said projects and subsequently bill the agency for the payment of labour and materials.
Under the joint DPWH-DOE circular, DPWH regional and district offices are mandated to pay the corresponding labour and materials that will be incurred by the rural electric cooperatives in the transfer or relocation of their electric poles that will be affected by the implementation of various infrastructure projects within their areas of jurisdiction.
Further, the circular also provided that the DPWH should pay to the concerned rural electric cooperative or distribution utility at least 50 percent of the cost of labour and materials that will be incurred in the transfer of their electric poles that will be affected by their projects.
If the electric poles that will be affected are located in a government property which will be transferred to another government property upon the request of concerned barangays, Verzosa claimed the labour and materials will be charged to the corporate social responsibility fund (CSR) fund of the member of the BENECO board who has jurisdiction of the said area.
If the electric poles that will be transferred are within titled properties of residents, he claimed concerned residents must present substantial proof of ownership to justify the utilization of the cooperative’s funds for the cost of labour and materials during the transfer of the affected poles.
He said there was a problem in the past in the relocation of their electric poles that were affected by various government infrastructure projects because DPWH regional and district offices refuse to pay the rural electric cooperative the cost of labour and materials that will be incurred in the transfer of the said poles that obstruct the projects, saying that it has been unfair to the rural electric cooperative who had sacrificed in shouldering the cost of labour and materials in the relocation of their poles that are affected by various projects.
Verzosa asserted that the relocation of their poles affected by various projects are usually accompanied by programs of work and billing statements when works are already completed by their own crew for the immediate payment of the agency.
By Dexter A. See