December 8, 2023

As the almost three years of struggle over the leadership of Benguet Electric Cooperative has ended with the appointment of a new general manager last week, focus should now be redirected on the need to make po-wer supply services better, and to make the power distribution utility stronger against current and future challenges in the power industry sector.
Following the selection of a general manager, the next step we expect is for Beneco to address the clamor of its member-consumers to have a regular board of directors, one that is composed of qualified members chosen and trusted by the member-consumers.
We expect the composition of the new BOD is capable of making sound decisions in terms of strategies and resources management. It should be one that will be able to work closely with management but strictly observes check and balance as it sees to it Beneco is properly managed.
Having a dependable and able BOD, we believe, relies on two things. First, the interim BOD, which was put in place to work on putting things in order following the power struggle so as not to disrupt dispensation of services, should already set out for the election of the regular BOD as they were tasked to do.
We acknowledge the efforts so far in putting a semblance of normalcy in Beneco, but this should dispel criticisms members of the interim BOD are clinging to their temporary positions since they were installed by National Electrification Administration in January when the latter removed the then BOD due to administrative offenses and long-standing irregularities in the management of Beneco’s finances.
Selecting a regular BOD is part of the procedure prescribed by law but more importantly it is reflective of the will of the member-consumers, who would want to abide by the actions and decisions of directors chosen from their own rank, not of those installed temporarily.
The member-consumers therefore are counting on their word that the interim BOD will work on the election of a new, regular BOD by yearend.
Second, the member-consumers, as in any election, should perform their duty of selecting a deserving and competent Beneco BOD. We should put in mind sending to the board those who consider the best interests of the consumers as the top and only priority.
With the expiration of Beneco’s franchise looming, its plan to become a full-fledge stock cooperative and its ongoing projects, such as its ventures on renewable energy projects and hydropower plants initiated to become a sustainable and independent power producer, among other pressing matters, it is a crucial time for Beneco to get back on its feet firmly to secure its existence for the next 50 years and beyond.
We cannot however say let bygones be bygones, as Beneco, its employees, and members-consumers came face to face with the fact that even an AAA-rated electric cooperative such as Beneco can also be momentarily sha-ken despite earnest efforts to avoid unfortunate situations.
This particular episode should be a learning experience and a wakeup call for all stakeholders in Beneco, who, des- pite an impressive show of unity and loyalty during the Beneco management tug-of-war, should not close their eyes and tolerate irregularities and offen-ses, if there are, from the levels of the BOD, management, and their ranks that would put their mandate in question and compromise excellent service Beneco has been known for.
Still, if there is one thing notable from this Beneco experience, it is that it is clearly proven that a firm board and management could only work and do well if it has the mandate and support of its member-consumers.