BENGUET Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is firm of its decision in turning over the work of maintenance of streetlights to local government units of Baguio City and Benguet.
The move of the electric cooperative is to rationalize the disadvantageous and heavy obligation on their part.
Beneco previously entered a contract of streetlights with the city of Baguio and Benguet towns with the electric cooperative providing the necessary labor and materials for the maintenance of streetlights, however, the power firm manifested it will no longer do repair and maintenance work.
For Baguio City, maintenance of streetlights stopped February 26 and for Benguet, last May.
There are 8,701 streetlights in Baguio City and 1,878 in La Trinidad alone.
Lawyer Delmar Cariño, legal officer of Beneco said in previous years, Beneco incurs too much cost handling repair and maintenance of streetlights and the request of streetlight repairs disturbs more other equally important tasks of Beneco.
“Beneco is now the only electric cooperative in the country that maintains streetlights of LGUs,” said Cariño on Wednesday.
From 2013 to 2018 cost of labor and materials of Beneco for Baguio and Benguet amounts to P41.4 million. Last year alone, the cost of labor and materials accounts P6.6 million.
Cost covers replacement of fixtures, bulbs, photo switches, and correction of loose connection.
Engineer Melchor Licoben, Beneco Assistant General Manager, penned La Trinidad town mayor Romeo Salda on May 20 urging the municipality to find means to absorb the cost of maintenance of streetlights.
Licoben added the terms of the contract are no longer feasible for the electric cooperative and that Beneco has informed the town of the predicament two years ago.
He also reiterated the discussion on May 8 meeting of the electric coop with Benguet town representatives where the different local government units (LGUs) were given options namely for Beneco to bill the town 10 burning hours for electric consumption of the streetlights equivalent to 20 percent discount but the town has to handle the maintenance.
Another option is Beneco will bill the town for 12 burning hours and handle the task of streetlights maintenance but the costs of labor and materials will be paid by the LGU.
The towns of Itogon, Tuba and Sablan expressed willingness to amend the contract, he added.