Issue of October 13, 2019
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Baguio bocaps back BENECO streetlight offer with conditions
by PIO release

The Liga ng mga Barangay-Baguio City chapter affirmed its support to the proposal of the Benguet Electric Cooperative to continue maintaining the city’s streetlights subject to certain conditions.

In Liga Resolution 31, s. 2019, the city’s punong barangays requested the city government to consider Beneco’s proposal saying the utility company is more capable of maintaining the city’s streetlights.

Beneco earlier ceded to the city government the management and operation of the city’s streetlights after reportedly incurring losses when it was managing and operating the over 8,700 unmetered streetlights for the past six years.

In Beneco’s proposal, it will replace all unmetered high pressure sodium streetlight fixtures with LED bulbs at no cost to the city and that it will shoulder the required investment cost for the eventual conversion of the city’s streetlights to LED fixtures, but it will bill the city at 12 burning hours and based on high pressure sodium streetlight consumption.

Beneco also commits to repair and maintain the fixtures for a period of 10 years and it shall bill the city government based on the high pressure sodium streetlight consumption.

The Local Finance Committee earlier turned down this proposal of Beneco stressing the city will only be availing of the 10 burning hours. To save on electric consumption, the city council also earlier passed an ordinance converting from sodium bulbs to the more energy and cost efficient LED bulbs.

Beneco claims that its proposal will reduce the city’s power bill on the unmetered streetlights by 40 percent, equivalent to about P20 million annually starting on the sixth year up to the 10thyear of maintenance and operation.

Beneco said that based on its computations using actual January to June 2019 rates, the 10-year discount was projected to be around P100M and the amount of the actual discountwill depend on prevailing rates.

The average monthly energy consumption of the high pressure sodium fixtures is projected to be around 538,462 kilowatt-hours with an equivalent billing of P4,061,544 using the average rate during the first semester of the year.

In light of the passage of the Murang Kuryente Act, Beneco claims there is a possibility that the discount will be reduced due to the non-payment of stranded debt and stranded contract cost.

Beneco will only replace unmetered high pressure sodium fixtures with LED fixtures while new streetlight installations shall be covered by a separate proposal and memorandum of agreement.

“It is the reception, understanding and confidence of the body that the proposal will provide a win-win solution as to the issue on the management and maintenance of streetlights that will redound to the welfare and benefit of the City of Baguio and the 128 barangays,” the resolution states.

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