High system loss in Itogon-A A +A
Just Passing By
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
IT’S NO joke raking in more than 20 per cent system loss in gold rich Itogon. That’s a serious concern and Benguet Electric Cooperative (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.
The alarm is on. And unless Beneco and the town’s stakeholders come to terms on how to address the bug, the cooperative might be compelled to initiate drastic measures on the town’s communities like intentional power cuts and a flood of criminal charges for pilferage just to put things in order.
But Beneco is far from doing that. Let’s just cooperate and solve the problem.
The facts do not lie. There are 103 distribution transformers in Itogon, each with different kilovolt ampere (KVA) capacity. These transformers are distributed to the town’s nine barangays -- Gumatdang (5), Poblacion (8), Loacan (22), Tuding (12), Ampucao (13), Ucab (15), Dalupirip (5), Tinongdan (9) and Virac (14). They have a total capacity of 3,337.5 KVA. By the way, a transformer is that part of an electric distribution system that is tasked to change or step down the high distribution voltage to a lower distribution voltage so that electricity will be able to power the customer’s electric bulb, television, flat iron or refrigerator.
But here’s the hitch. There are 5,025 customers or accounts that connect to or receive power from the 103 distribution transformers in Itogon. These connections use up 17,616.27 KWH daily. Beneco’s check meters, however, show otherwise. The nine barangays actually consume 24,360.75 KWH a day. In short, the electric cooperative is being shortchanged of 6,744.48 KWH a day. This means that a significant load of electricity in the 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.
We can only speculate. We are neither accusing nor blaming anyone in particular. As to who is responsible and why is there a surge in power loss are matters we should all be concerned about. Admittedly, it is only in Itogon where Beneco is experiencing such level of loss.
Beneco though is on the thick of discussions for a measure to address the problem. It will soon meet with the officers of the Benguet Federation of Small Scale Farmers, Inc. (BFSSMI) and lay out a system which our engineers call “Time of Use” (TOU) in a bid to help our small scale miners save on their power cost. We first bared the move before the BFSSMI since the group is one of the key players in the town’s small scale mining industry. It has 69 small scale mining groups under its watch.
I understand though that the move is anchored on one plea – that our brothers who use ball mills must apply for a legitimate power connection with Beneco. They must enroll an account to be able to take advantage of the benefits of the TOU program. If they are already billed monthly by Beneco, then that’s fine. No need to enroll. If they are not, then there’s a need to legitimize their use of electricity. In this way, the TOU can provide them with a scheme on the use of power at reasonable rates that would depend on their consumption per kilowatt hour given a specific period.
Thanks to Engr. Lomino Kaniteng, the BFSSMI chief. He was receptive of the idea when I first mentioned it to him. He assured me he would call the attention of his group and the other bigwigs of the tunnels.
Coffee has never been dull with Kaniteng at the Baguio Palace. (email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 03, 2012.