BENGUET Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is considering the possibility of going underground, but not without a price.
Beneco general manager Gerardo Verzosa said they are considering the possibility of going underground but it will take an estimated amount of P2 billion to fully implement the project.
“Going underground is possible but it is costly, it will take P2 billion funding for the Central Business District,” Verzosa said adding it will take 11 kilometers of electric lines from the Beneco substation to the CBD including interconnecting lines for the underground wiring alone.
“We have visited Seoul, Korea. Nakita po natin na maganda yung kanilang underground lines, we are planning to cooperate with them para maumpisahan natin through a feasibility study,” Verzosa said.
According to Versoza, KELCO will help Beneco conduct a feasibility study and to check how their electric lines would switch to underground lines.
The study alone costs P20 million and would require an in depth study of water and drainage systems of the city.
“We have already requested the City, DPWH and BWD for a copy of plans of existing drainage and water installations including plans for future development,” Verzosa narrated.
The plan is now being studied after the passage of the city’s environmental code requiring all electrical wires and public utility lines such as telephone and cable wires should be underground as it is an eye sore to the Summer Capital and poses threat to the motorists.
“While it is true na gaganda ang city kapag nag underground lines na tayo because of tourism, the problem is who will pay for the project,” Versoza said.
Versoza explained there is a possibility the needed fund will be passed on to consumers thus, an increase on electrical fees will be implemented if the needed fund will not be raised.
“The problem here is who will pay for it, magkano ang itataas sa electrical fee? Papayag ba ang consumer na taga malayong lugar to pay for something na hindi naman sila nagbebenefit. Also how worthy is the project,” Versoza stated.
Versoza added the city should conduct public consultations regarding the project and should find a logical way to raise the fund without putting too much burden to consumers.
The power distributor’s general manager added electrical lines are different from cable and communication wires, which makes it difficult for BENECO to work with other companies.
“Electricity is dangerous. Installation and equipment are different from communication lines. Ang mga electrical lines sa abroad at utilities halos parallel lahat at may designated places din sila here in the city hindi ganoon kaya mahihirapan tayo,” Versoza closed.