Issue of June 21, 2020
Mt. Province
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170,000 members benefit from Pantawid Liwanag program
by Harley F. Palangchao

Around 170,000 accounts of member-consumers of Benguet Electric Cooperative has benefited from its “Pantawid Liwanag” program, which either waived payment or gave discount to clients from power consumed during the community quarantine.

Beneco General Manager Melchor Licoben reported last week that the electric cooperative waived payment for member-consumers who consumed 30 kilowatt hours and below and those who consumed 31 to 100kWh were given P100 discount in their April billing.

Member-consumers who consumed 101 to 200kWh in their May billing were likewise given P100 discount.

Beneco, along with 120 other electric cooperatives nationwide which are members of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. (Philreca) implemented the Pantawid Liwanag program to support their respective member-consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Licoben said Beneco supported the program even if it was also affected by the pandemic in terms of monthly sales. Beneco lost almost 26 percent from its previous monthly sales during the community quarantine.

He cited the case of SM City Baguio which bills an average of P10 million to P11M monthly  before the lockdown but Beneco only billed the mall around P2M a month during the lockdown.

Beneco sales were also affected by the closure of hotels, restaurants, and other business establishments that rely heavily on power supply in their operation.

“In spite of this, we supported programs to ease the burden of member-consumers,” Licoben said.

He added that Beneco member-consumers have until June 30 to settle their power bills for this month.

Philreca has lauded the 121 electric cooperatives for supporting the Pantawid Liwanag program, saying it never doubted the compassion and dedication of member-electric cooperatives in supporting programs to ease the burden of power consumers.

“Today, we cannot be more joyful and proud to announce that all 121 electric cooperatives have committed to the implementation of the program…  We are doing this again despite everyone being directly affected by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Philreca said in a statement.

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