P171 M needed for sitio electrification

AN OFFICIAL of Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) said the cooperative needs more than P171 million to fully energize the remaining sitios in the province.

Beneco Network Service Department Manager Melchor Licoben said Beneco’s sitio electrification program has already completed 85 percent with the towns of Bakun and Kabayan having below 70 percent fully electrified.

Despite having only 68 percent sitios electrified, Bakun will need at least P11 million for the program while Kabayan, with only 67 percent electrified will need more than P13 million.

Atok will get bulk of the proposed funding with P27 million followed by Kibungan at P20 million while Mankayan will have the least with P3.9 million.

Licoben said the power distributor is expecting the funding from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Department of Energy under the Expanded Rural Electrification Program.

Licoben added that of the 2,679 potential areas for electrification, only 2,268 are fully energized as of May 10.

Beneco general manager Gerardo Verzosa said the cooperative are still communicating with NEA to avail of the condonation for the cooperative’s P100 million loan.

The P100 million credit financed the sitio electrification project in Benguet in 2011.

However, concerns were raised after then President Bengino Aquino III announced the sitio electrification will be free.

“In 2010, President Aquino said makupad ang electrification in rural areas that is why Beneco initiated to loan to fast track the project. However it turned out ginawang free ito which leaves our cooperative in debt unlike those who just followed who availed of the subsidy at no cost,” Versoza said. (Roderick Osis)