BAGUIO CITY – The National Electrification Administration (NEA) approved the release of some P80 million under the agency’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) to fund the energization of approximately 79 sitios in Benguet this year.
With the release of the funds for the said program, the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) is now scheduling the conduct of pre-construction seminars to the identified beneficiaries of the SEP for the smooth and timely project implementation.
Earlier, BENECO requested the NEA for the provision of some P80 million from funds earmarked for the SEP for the implementation of the energization of these 79 sitios in its franchise area as a rural electric cooperative.
The sitios in Benguet that are programmed for energization are located in Atok – 7, Bakun – 10, Bokod – 5, Buguias – 1, Kabayan – 10, Kapangan – 9, Kibungan – 10, Mankayan – 2, Sablan – 5, Tuba -13 and Tublay – 7.
The 79 sitios programmed for energization this year is part of more than 300 sitios in the 13 towns of Benguet that are awaiting the delivery of electricity in their places pursuant to the government’s mandate on rural electrification which is under the jurisdiction of the NEA.
BENECO officials are contemplating on completing the implementation of the energization of the 79 sitios in Benguet this year as it continues to access available funds for the energization of other villages lined up for electrification to significantly reduce the number of un-energized sections within its franchise area.
In terms of barangays, the electric cooperative fully energized the 128 barangays in Baguio City and the 140 barangays in Benguet over the past 42 years with its franchise to distribute power in the said areas set to expire on 2028.
BENECO is one of the few rural electric cooperatives in the country given the coveted Class AAA rating because of its ability to sustain a single digit systems loss, 100 percent collection efficiency, among others, in compliance with industry standards.
The government embarked on the implementation of its SEP to ensure the energization of non-viable areas in the different parts of the country as part of the strategy to bring power to the countryside and contribute in efforts to improve economic activities and the sources of livelihood to enhance people’s lives in the said places.
Aside from being one of the top performing electric cooperatives in the country to date, BENECO has maintained one of the lowest power costs being charged to consumers despite having numerous non-viable areas within its franchise area. The electric cooperative’s power cost is much lower compared to the power cost of private power distribution utilities, like the Manila Electric Corporation which has a much bigger area of coverage with no non-viable areas within its service area.
One of the reasons why BENECO is able to continue to lower its power cost is its existing power purchase agreement with the Sual-based TEAM Energy Corporation that is charging the cooperative P3.85 per kilowatt-hour.
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis