Power co-op to energize 50 schools in Benguet | Inquirer News

Power co-op to energize 50 schools in Benguet

/ 07:28 AM August 20, 2014

BAGUIO CITY—For years, public schools in remote villages of Benguet province have relied on sunlight to illuminate their classrooms, as the terrain and bad roads have hampered power distributors from connecting power lines to their communities.

Artemio Bacoco, northern subarea department manager of Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco), said the cooperative had planned to install electricity in 50 Benguet schools since 2011, but only four schools had been energized.

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“But we are hoping that we can provide electricity in our target areas by 2016. The terrain and the distance of these communities are delaying our efforts. We cannot provide electricity to these schools if we do not have electric posts. Another issue that confronts us is opposition from residents because we were accused of obstructing right of way,” Bacoco said in an Aug. 13 news briefing.

The power utility sends crewmen who walk for a day to survey areas where they have to put up power lines.

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Bacoco said Beneco’s Pailaw sa Paaralan (Electrification for Schools) program required the cooperative to spend an average of P45,000 per school to pay for the installation of three electric posts, a service meter, and electrical wiring for two light bulb fixtures and two power outlets.

The program will serve schools in the towns of Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, Mankayan, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay.

But Beneco will spend as much as P9 million to energize Legab Elementary School, which is situated in Bakun’s Kayapa village, the farthest service area from the existing power line, about 20 kilometers away, Bacoco said.

He said the utility intended to energize 10 public schools before the year-end.

“We haul all materials manually to the schools,” he said, adding that the schools’ only counterpart was to ensure that they pay their electricity bills.

Beneco spent P189 million under its Sitio Energization Program to provide electricity to 189 subvillages in Benguet, said Melchor Licoben, manager of Beneco’s engineering department.

He said 49 of these subvillages in the towns of Atok, Kapangan, Kibungan and Tublay were energized using P32 million facilitated by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

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When the Supreme Court declared part of DAP unconstitutional, however, an P87-million allocation to energize 118 more subvillages in 12 Benguet towns had to be suspended, he said.

In 2015, he said, an additional 231 subvillages were scheduled to be energized, using P154 million in new appropriations.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) provided a P100-million loan to Beneco for these expansion projects.

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TAGS: Benguet, Benguet Electric Cooperative, Disbursement Acceleration Program, Electricity, News, power, Regions
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