Issue of December 25, 2011
     
NEWS
Benguet
 
OPINION
 

102nd Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
 
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Bill that seeks to split Beneco into two filed in Lower House
by Harley Palangchao

Benguet Electric Cooperative officials welcomed the filing in Congress of a bill that seeks to have a separate franchise for Baguio but they wanted to read a feasibility study concerning the proposal.

“We welcome the move and we would love to receive a copy of a feasibility study which could be the basis of filing the proposal,” said Beneco General Manager Gerardo Verzosa.

Verzosa added that a feasibility study is one of the independent variables to be considered so that the pros and cons of the proposal to have a separate franchise for Baguio and Benguet will be expounded in supposed intelligent discussions.

On Wednesday, a staff member of Baguio Rep. Bernardo Vergara furnished reporters copies of House Bill 5518 seeking to  provide a legislative franchise to the Baguio Electric Cooperative (Baelco), which was formed several years ago purposely to jumpstart the bid to have a separate electric utility franchise in Baguio.

“I have to do something and must respond to the request of the city council as contained in a resolution which was approved earlier,” said Vergara, adding that this could be best for the city.

In HB 5518, Vergara said that the creation of Baelco is being considered as a first step for the city to have its own power cooperative and provide the best service at a lower cost.

The proposed bill added that the new thrust of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act is to tap private entities like Baelco for the expansion and improvement of the industry.

The proposed bill has requested the Energy Regulatory Board, National Electrification Administration, and other concerned agencies to prepare and implement an operational plan for the transfer of operation from Beneco to Baelco.

To recall, Beneco member-consumers who attended the 31st Beneco annual general assembly in Bokod, Benguet on Dec. 3 did not approve the proposed separate electric franchise for Baguio.

This, as one member-consumer also cited the importance of a feasibility study justifying the need to create a separate electric cooperative for Baguio City.


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