City, Beneco resolve row over Asin hydro

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


THE row between the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) and the Baguio City Government over the Asin Mini-hydroelectric Plants (AMP) operations, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.

Domogan during the weekly Ugnayan forum with media last August 20 siad the parties’ joint technical team (JTT) finally came up with a logical way to divide the “money pie” over city-led operations of the AMP after a meeting last August 16.

The mayor earlier opined the deduction of 18-percent systems loss in the payment of purchased power by Beneco to the local government.

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He hoped some adjustments could be made in the billing computations to squeeze out a bit more doe from the 86-year-old AMP.

Beneco and the City Government agreed that a JTT should conduct “joint audit to determine just compensation for both parties.”

“During the August 16 meeting, Beneco General Manager Gerardo Versoza accepted reduction of systems loss from 18.5 percent to 8.5 percent,” Domogan said.

The reduction, the mayor said, translates into P8.7 million in payables arising from the baseless over-deduction of 18.5-percent systems loss discounted from the amount Beneco was supposed to pay the city had the same been pegged to 8.5 percent.

The P8.7 million will be paid within a period of 27 months – the same length of time Beneco used the 18.5-percent systems loss as a way of discounting its payables to the city.

Domogan had been adamant “even the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) provides ceiling in the deduction of systems loss at a much lower percentage.”

“I don’t understand why Beneco even deducts as much as 18 percent [which could translate to bigger income for the city] when it is merely a buyer of the power we produce,” he said.

Beneco and the City Government, nil written agreement, likewise consented to an electric power exchange rate using National Power Corporation standard power tariff at P4.80 per kilowatt per hour sometime in 2007.

“But records show us otherwise,” Domogan claimed, adding, “I don’t see Beneco using NPC rates as basis of their computations.”

“Why are we paying job order employees so much? It eats up a substantial chunk of what the city is getting from the [AMP]?” he said.

Domogan said the JTT will reconvene to audit and re-compute the basis for Beneco’s purchase of power from the AMP, which may yet again translate to cash for the coffers of Baguio. (Isagani Liporada)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 23, 2011.

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