March 5, 2024

The Benguet Electric Cooperative has many projects under the new normal, among them is pursuing the long-desired but the still elusive underground wiring system.
In line with the continuing effort to make Beneco a reliable electric service provider, Officer-in-Charge General Manager Melchor Licoben said one of the ways to achieve a reliable power supply is ensuring minimal power interruptions. However, the overhead wiring system often causes outages due to birds accidentally stepping on electric cables, vehicles bumping into electric poles, and trees that fall on electric cables.
Licoben said an underground wiring system will address these issues. But while feasible, the same has not been pursued because of the costs involved.
Under the term of Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Licoben said Beneco will pursue the plan after the mayor informed them that an underground wiring system is one way of revitalizing the city.
“Hopefully Beneco will be able to build a more resilient network,” Licoben said, and hoped that this time, the city government will allot some funds for the project. “Hindi kasi kaya kung Beneco lang ang sasagot sa lahat,” he said, adding a company has proposed to dig, which all utilities may use.
In 2013, Beneco has formally broached the feasibility of an underground wiring system.
In 2016, Sang Jin Sun, the Korean consultant of the National Electrification Administration, has estimated the cost of layout of the underground cables that would span around 11 kilometers of lines routed along major parts of the city will be from P2 billion to P2.4B.
Sun, who formerly worked for the Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco), said power cables could be connected and buried underground along the areas of the Baguio General Hospital, university belt, public market, Pines City Doctors Hospital, Baguio City Police Office, City Hall, and the Baguio City National High School.  
Kepco, the largest power utility in South Korea, has installed the underground cables in Seoul.
On the same year, Beneco revived proposals for an underground wiring system following approval of the Baguio Environment Code, which calls for an underground wiring system to preserve the city’s skyline.   
Then Beneco GM Gerardo Verzosa said to realize this, all utility companies should pool resources and local governments under its franchise area could help by subsidizing some costs, and the rest would have to be paid for by consumers.
Beneco wrote then Mayor Mauricio Domogan about the plan but there was no response from the city government.
Areas or businesses that have an underground wiring system are SM City Baguio, PLDT office at Session Road, and some areas of Camp John Hay. – Rimaliza A. Opiña