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  • By : Delmar O. Cariño
  • May 14, 2020

BENECO to give discounts to consumers

More than 170,000 consumer accounts of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) stand to benefit from a P15.8 million subsidy program the electric cooperative will implement to help consumers cope with the adverse impact of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

For April, free electricity will be given to consumers who used 30 kilowatt hour (kwh) and below while a one hundred peso (P100) discount will be given to those who consumed 31 to 100 kwh.

For May, consumers who used P101-200 kwh will enjoy the P100 discount.

The consumption for April and May will be reflected in the power bills that will be issued to the consumers. The cooperative resumed its meter reading on April 13 following a one month hiatus due to Covid 19.

The bills that indicated a usage of 30 kWh and below need not be paid while those that showed a consumption of P31 – 200 kWh will be paid less P100 of the amount stated in the bill.

The cooperative’s board of directors on Tuesday approved the initiative, called Pantawid Liwanag, the name of the corporate social responsibility program (CSR) the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Assn. (PHILRECA) encouraged the country’s electric cooperatives to implement.

BENECO’s version though tweaked the CSR program as it decided to include residential consumers and not only lifeline consumers.

Lifeline consumers, as per the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), are the marginalized households that consume 50 kwh and below a month. The regular residential consumers are those that use 51 kwh and above per month.

For those who have already paid their bills, the amount of subsidy will be credited to their accounts as advance payment and their succeeding bills will be adjusted accordingly.

BENECO’s subsidy for the Pantawid Liwanag will cost the cooperative P15.48 million and will target 178,545 consumer accounts based on the latest membership data of the cooperative.

A total of 56,349 lifeline accounts (30 kwh and below) will receive free electricity in April which will cost the cooperative P3.27 million. There will be 26,049 lifeline consumer accounts (31 – 50 kwh) that will receive the P100 discount and this will be charged to the cooperative at the cost of P2.6 million.

In May, 45,975 residential consumer accounts (51 – 100 kwh) and another 37,826 (101-200 kwh) will enjoy the P100 subsidy that will cost the cooperative P4.59 and P3.78, respectively, or P8.38 million in all.

A separate amount of P1.23 million for the P100 discount awaits 12,346 residential consumer accounts (201 – 300 kwh) in May should the collection efficiency of BENECO be favorable.

“This is our modest way of helping our consumers,” said lawyer Esteban Somngi, board president, immediately after the measure’s approval by the board.

Melchor Licoben, the newly designated OIC GM, explained to the board the financial calculations that encouraged him to bat for the inclusion of the residential consumers in the program.