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BAGUIO CITY – In a move to shield itself from economic speculators eyeing to take over the Benguet Electric Cooperative, the local power distributor will turn into a regular stock cooperative to ensure and protect its ownership by member-consumers.
“It’s the only way we can prevent Beneco from being gobbled up by private power developers who have started to take over some cooperatives in the country,” explained general manager Gerry Verzosa explained during the second phase of the Beneco annual general membership assembly last June 9, in Bokod, Benguet.
In response, some 2,500 members unanimously adopted a motion by member Sergio Gayaso to have Beneco register with the Cooperative Development Authority.
The same overwhelming support was given by also over 2,000 members who attended the initial assembly held the week before in Tublay, Benguet.
The issue was also at the top of the agenda in the membership assembly set for Baguio yesterday (Saturday) at the Burnham Park Athletic Bowl.
At the assembly in Bokod, Verzosa noted that at least two electric cooperatives in the country had already been privatized by a power company.
Under Verzosa’s leadership, Beneco turned from the brink of collapse into the country’s top performing electric coop.
This A-1 stature was reflected in Beneco’s garnering eight national awards during the Lumen Awards at the national conference of electric cooperative last April 28 in Tagum City.
Beneco, led by board president Rocky Aliping, garnered the awards for the “Single Digit System Loss for the Year”, lowest power rate (on grid) best in collection performance, model headquarters facilities, Triple A category award, certificates of recognition for participation in Task Force Kapatid for victims of Typhoon Lawin and Typhoon Nina , and exemplary management award for the general manager.
Beneco whittled down its average system loss to 9.08 percent, resulting in savings equivalent to millions of pesos, pulled off a 100 percent collection efficiency and a reduced power rate of P7.1292 per kilowatt-hour.
Beneco’s decision to convert into a stock cooperative to protect the interest of members is backed by authorities led by lawyer Renato Fernandez, the former national president of electric cooperatives and former Beneco general manager Peter Fianza.
By Ramon Dacawi