Mayor appeals extension of BENECO streetlights maintenance

BAGUIO CITY March 07 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan reiterated his previous appeal to the members of the Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to reconsider the body's earlier decision to unilaterally terminate its existing memorandum of agreement with the local government for the maintenance of the city's streetlights while awaiting the conversion of the streetlight system to light-emitting diode (LED).

The local chief executive explained that the local government is inclined to pursue the conduct of public bidding for the conversion of the city's streetlighting system to LED pursuant to Resolution No. 446, series of 2011 which formulated the terms of reference for the city's LED project but the tedious bidding process coupled with the different opinions of the members of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) resulted to the serious delay in the realization of the said endeavour.

Domogan met with some members of the BENECO Board of Directors to discuss the impending turnover of the management of the city's streetlights to the City Engineering Office after the lapse of the 30-day reglamentary period provided for the said purpose.

"We hope the members of the Board of Directors will reconsider their position on the matter because our city constituents will suffer the consequences of the turnover of the management of our streetlights to the city due to our depleted manpower and insufficient resources for the said matter," Domogan stressed.

He requested the members of the BENECO board to give the local government at least 8 months to complete the conversion of the city's streetlights to LED prior to the full turnover of the management of the same to the local government.

In 2013, BENECO and the local government entered into an agreement for the former to manage the city's streetlighting system until such time that the latter shall have converted to LED.

However, almost six years have lapsed but the proposed conversion to LED has not yet been realized that caused the electric cooperative to incur over P25 million in losses that was supposed to have been used to improve its system to ensure the delivery of cheap and quality power to its increasing number of consumers.

Further, over 240 percent of the calls being received by the cooperative daily concerns the maintenance of the city's streetlights in the 128 barangays which have caused the concentration of much of its personnel to the streetlights maintenance instead of working for the continuous improvement of the distribution system that will guarantee systems reliability and quality power to the consumers.

The local governments over 8,000 streetlights which are distributed in the city's 128 barangays, major roads and parks to help deter the commission of crimes that pose a serious threat to the safety of the public and ensure the protection of life and limb from whatever danger posed by the presence of lawless elements wanting to take advantage of the situation.

BENECO officials asserted that it is high time for the cooperative to focus its resources to the continuous upgrading of its system which will be beneficial to consumers because of cheaper power rates that will be charged them in the future.

By Dexter A. See

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