Issue of October 7, 2018
     
NEWS
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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BENECO helps city in hydro plant rehabilitation dilemma
by Press release

“We are all into this problem.”

With this statement of support, the Benguet Electric Cooperative has come in support of the city in untangling the mess the latter is embroiled in as a result of the failure of a company to begin rehabilitation of the city’s four hydroelectric plants.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan has approved Beneco’s request to conduct a research and study on the three remaining pre-war power plants along the Asin River that were built during the American period by then mayor Eusebius Halsema as the city’s mainstay in its development thrusts.

“We have lined up several technical activities, including liaison works and coordination with the land owners as well as the community and the Tuba Indigenous People’s Organization,” Beneco General Manager Gerardo Verzosa and Beneco Power Generation Department Manager Ricardo Pallogan wrote the mayor earlier.

“After the said activities, we will eventually submit to the city government our proposal for the rehabilitation, upgrading and expansion of the mini-hydro facilities along the Salyangan and Galiano rivers.

For six years now, the city has been losing an average of P2.5 million a  month since the local government took over the facilities and subjected them to bidding for their rehabilitation.

Kaltimex Energy Philippines, the winning bidder, however, failed to start rehabilitation work despite having been awarded the contract on July 17, 2014.

The city banned Beneco from bidding by coming out with a qualifying rule that only electric cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority would be eligible to submit their bid proposals. Beneco is registered with the National Electrification Administration, which is also allowed to accredit electric cooperatives.

Beneco became the caretaker of the plants after the city turned over the same for operation by the Baguio Water District. The BWD had the Beneco manage the plants while being entitled to a share of the electricity being generated by them.

In preparation for the bidding, the city six years ago took over the plants from Beneco and awarded to Kaltimex their rehabilitation and operation on July 17, 2014.

Figures from past operation of the plants under Beneco showed the city collected P31,345,631.99 from January to December 2011 and P28,112,806.14 from January to October 2012.

With the stand-off, the city is considering confiscation of Kaltimex’s P150 million bond. Last April 11, Domogan sent a demand letter to Kal-timex for payment of fees with damages amounting to P13,644,500.


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