December 2, 2022

The Benguet Electric Cooperative has sued a local bank and a local water refilling business for violating the Anti-Pilferage Law.
Beneco, through Network Services Department Head Ramel Rifani, has sued Landbank-Marcos Highway branch and Badiwan Silver Springs Corporation (BSCC) for illegal connection pursuant to Republic Act 7832 or the Anti-Pilferage Act.
In his complaint, Rifani alleged that Landbank and BSCC have illegally reconnected their lines after Beneco cut their service connection for non-payment of their bills.
According to the complaint, Landbank was disconnected on March 16 for not paying its bills from November 2021 to January this year amounting to P57,764.
Landbank claimed in its letter of reply to Beneco it has settled its obligations as proven by the teller receipts, but the latter said the receipts shown by Landbank as proof of payment are the ones declared lost and stolen from Beneco’s Maharlika and South Drive offices when the offices were taken over on Oct. 18, 2021.
The complaint stated after the disconnection on March 16, Beneco found that Landbank reconnected its power and used a kilowatt-hour meter that does not bear the seal of Beneco.
Beneco informed Landbank that its reconnection violates the power coop’s reconnection protocols and use of a meter not sealed by Beneco is unauthorized.
As of July 14, Beneco said Landbank has an unsettled bill of P10,407.7 since its disconnection on March 16 leading to P213,931.26 unsettled obligations.
Beneco issued on Aug. 5 a final demand letter for Landbank to pay its obligations.
In the case of BSCC, Beneco disconnected its service connection on April 8 for its failure to pay its bill amounting to P19,852,164.83, including surcharges, as of March 26.
BSCC claimed it has paid its obligations to Beneco by depositing its payment through the Philippine National Bank, but Beneco said the establishment failed to show its proof of payment.
Beneco alleged BSCC reconnected to the electric coop’s lines using inferior materials and despite a letter for the establishment to stop its illegal use of electricity, it continued the practice.
Landbank and BSCC were charged based on Section 2 of RA 7832, which provides, among other things, that it is unlawful for any person or institution to tap, make, or any connection with lines, service drops, or other electrical service wires without consent from the distribution utility having jurisdiction over the area.
The law also penalizes tampering with, installing, or using tampered with electrical meters, among other devices, that results in a manner where electricity is stolen or wasted. – Jane B. Cadalig