blog image
  • By : Laarni S. Ilagan
  • Feb 06, 2024

BENECO Appeals for Proper Waste Disposal at Man-asok

The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) has raised alarm over the indiscriminate disposal of trash along the Upper Agno river upstream in Man-asok, Buguias that threatens the operation of the Benguet Electric Cooperative’s (BENECO) 3.24 megawatt (MW) Man-asok Hydro-Electric Power Plant (MHEPP).

Plastic bottles, cellophane, vegetables refuse and trimmings, clothing and pampers were found to be near the facility and BENECO fears that they will clog the weir intake and desander of the power plant during typhoon season.

“Clogging and siltation cause lesser water going to the intake to turn the three turbines that produce electricity, resulting to less electricity generated and a loss for the co-op, ” said Artemio Bacoco, power generation and operations department (PGOD) manager.

PGOD is the office tasked by BENECO to handle the plant’s operations.

“We want to appeal to the residents living upstream to hopefully dispose their waste properly since they are also co-owners of our mini-hydro being member-consumer-owners (MCOs),” Bacoco said.

The call was made during BENECO’s monthly employee assembly in January as Bacoco emphasized that the barangays and the municpality of Buguias are partners and recipients of benefits that can be derived from the full operation of the plant, he said.

Bacoco said that the PGOD workers are gathering every quarter around three cubic meters of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste at the area.

PGOD though has adopted measures to mitigate the concern. One is the construction of a steel mesh near the pipeline of the plant to filter any waste. Trees were also planted to prevent siltation. The plant also has its own materials recovery facility (MRF) to house plastic water bottles and other non-biodegradable waste.

The generation facility also experiences water scarcity during summer when most farmers upstream pump river water from the Agno river to irrigate their farms. This results to a low water level that can manage to run only one of the three turbines, Bacoco said.

From June 2022 when it started its operation until December 31, 2023, the plant was able to generate a total of 9.3 million kWh of which 6.7 million kWh of power was loaded to the grid.