Officials demand proof from power coop-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
ITOGON, Benguet -- Officials urged the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) to show evidences on its claim it had been experiencing high system loss in the town because of power pilferage.
Last Oct. 3, lawyer Delmar Cariño of Beneco published a column titled “ High system loss in Itogon” in this paper. He claimed the cooperative had been suffering high system loss in the town.
“It’s no joke raking in more than 20 percent system loss in gold rich Itogon. That’s a serious concern and Beneco has every reason to become restless. The electric cooperative has managed to keep intact its record as one of the holders of an overall single digit system loss but the Itogon problem may yet pose a dent to such reputation,” Cariño said in his column ‘The Recloser’.
Vice Mayor Noel Ngolob said the legislative body wants evidence on this claim.
“We are willing to assist in the dissemination of information to our town mates to avoid such illegal activities, if any. But we want evidence because we don’t want our town mates to be judged with a criminal offense,” Ngolob stressed.
He mentioned power pilferage is not only a criminal offense but is detrimental to the development of the town.
“We have faith on our town mates that they are complying with the laws, so what we are asking is a proof on the root cause of the system loss.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Oscar Camantiles said “this is a revealing fact that should serve as a challenge to the cooperative. If this is the case, I would recommend Beneco to conduct a fact–finding investigation to identify the suspects and the areas where it incurred high system loss.
“I also recommend Beneco to ‘police their ranks’ because some of the land settlements were installed with electricity even without due consent from the land owners like in Ucab and First Gate,” Camantiles added.
Cariño said there are 103 distribution transformers in town, each with different kilovolt ampere (KVA) capacity. These transformers were installed in nine barangays namely Gumatdang (5 transformers), Poblacion (8), Loacan (22), Tuding (12), Ampucao (13), Ucab (15), Dalupirip (5), Tinongdan (9), and Virac (14). These transformers have a total capacity of 3,337.5 KVA.
“But there’s the hitch. There are 5,025 costumers or accounts that connect to or receive power from the 103 distribution transformers in Itogon. These connections use up to 17,616.27 KWH daily. Beneco’s check meters, however, show otherwise,” Cariño explained.
Furthermore, he revealed “the nine barangays actually consume 24,360.75 KWH a day. In short, the electric cooperative is being short–changed by 6,744.48 KHW a day. This means a significant load of electricity in town is being used without being recorded in the meter and thus consumed for free. Put it differently, power is being stolen or used illegally.”
Cariño added it is only in Itogon Beneco experiences a high system loss in the province. He mentioned the cooperative and the stakeholders should come to terms on how to address the problem or else Beneco will implement international power cuts and file criminal charges against the culprits.
But negotiations are ongoing between the cooperative and the Benguet Federation of Small Scale Miners, Inc. The association is headed by Engr. Lomino Kaniteng with 69 small scale miners under it watch in Itogon.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 25, 2012.