May 23, 2024

BUGUIAS, Benguet – The Benguet Electric Cooperative is ready to operate commercially its first power generation plant in this northern part of the province.

The Man-asok mini-hydro power plant, which was inaugurated in December last year, was tested for the second time last May 5 witnessed by members-consumers and residents of Mankayan, Buguias, and Bakun.

The three turbines, capable to collectively produce a total of three megawatts, are now fully functional and could directly supply the energy demand for Mankayan, Buguias, and Bakun, according to Engr. Art Bacoco, Beneco’s Northern Sub-area manager.

The three towns have an average consumption of 2.5 MW.

Bacoco said Beneco has already asked the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to install a receiver transmitter unit (RTU), which will be used to measure the amount of power transmitted from the hydro plants to the grid.

After installation of the RTU, Beneco will submit a request to the Department of Energy for the issuance of a certificate of compliance (COC).

The Energy Power Industry Reform Act requires generation companies to first secure a COC from the DOE prior to commercial operation.

Bacoco said the DOE will inspect the facilities and if it finds Beneco has complied with all requirements, will issue a certificate of endorsement to the Energy Regulatory Commission for validation and assessment if it qualifies to be paid the Feed-in-Tariff rate or payment for electricity fed into the supply grid from a renewable energy source.

When given the green light for commercial operation, Beneco will begin paying its obligations to the host barangay, the host municipalities, the government’s share, and the indigenous peoples organization. 

Construction of the hydro power plant started in 2017 and was supposed to have been completed in 2019 but Beneco had to reroute some of the pipes because of rights of way claims that delayed the projected timetable for the project.

The Man-asok plant was funded through a P160 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The projected return of investment from Man-asok is 10 years commencing from the date of commercial operation. – Rimaliza A. Opiña