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  • By :
  • Jul 22, 2020

Employees urged to unite for BENECO's future

BENECO's linemen, meter readers and tellers got a big dose of motivation last Thursday and Friday when officers of the electric cooperative took turns to lay down what beckons for the institution amid the continuing challenge of the pandemic.

The BENECO Labor Employees Union (BELU) was primarily taken to task to actively participate in safeguarding the electric cooperative's gains in the past 20 years and to lock arms to quell any threat to the organization that would seek to destroy its reputation as being one of the country's top performing electric cooperatives.

Artemio Bacoco, Power Generation and Operations Department (PGOD) manager, relived before the BELU assembly the years BENECO struggled to rehabilitate its distribution system after it got devastated by the 1990 earthquake.

The years that followed were marked with financial burdens and the need for systems reinvigoration, he said, adding that the human spirit and unity of the employees then were crucial to the survival of the electric cooperative.

Bacoco paid homage to the young engineers during those times who painstakingly did their job well to help lead the organization to its feet.

Engr. Melchor Licoben, now the Officer-in-Charge General Manager, belonged to that group, Bacoco said. "Our GM grew from the ranks. Now that he is our GM, we can be assured of a strong leadership since he knows how an electric cooperative runs it business at the palm of his hands, " he said.

Lawyer Delmar Cariño, the Institutional Services Department (ISD) manager, told the employees that BENECO faces two major hurdles in the next few years - the renewal of its franchise which is set to expire in 2028 and the need to secure a new power supplier since its current power supply agreement is set to expire in 2024.

"The future of BENECO lies in these two factors. Without a franchise, we will close shop like ABS CBN. Without a new power supplier, we will be at the mercy of a supply market that could not guarantee a least cost of electricity," Cariño said.

He said that a strong leadership for the electric cooperative will be a key factor in securing a new franchise and a new power supply agreement. "By strong leadership," he said, "means the guy who should steer the ship must be knowledgeable of the operations of the electric power industry."

Cariño said having a GM who is not on board about the industry would need years of learning curve to be able to appreciate the demands of the power industry. "Good we have a leadership now who we are confident with since we know he can handle the job well," he said, referring to GM Licoben.

Jason Wayet, president of the BENECO Supervisors Association (BSA), asked the employees to be aware of developments inside and outside of their organization so that they can do their part if needed.

"We have heard of interests external to BENECO which in the long run may affect all of us", he said.

Wayet added that employees should support the present leadership of the electric cooperative and prevent any attempt to disturb its present directions.