Kuryente.org’s Statement on the controversy affecting the BENECO:
Kuryente.org believes that the ongoing Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) controversy is not an isolated issue but an encapsulation of what is fundamentally wrong with the electric cooperative system in the Philippines.
In many parts of the country today, where energy is serviced by electric cooperatives (EC) – whether in Davao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Palawan, Abra, Zamboanga City, Iloilo, Negros, Albay and many other areas – consumers are plagued with numerous electricity-related problems, while EC officials fight, to the point of killing each other, on who will manage a supposed “non-stock, non-profit organization” created to provide reliable and affordable rural electrification.
Amidst all this infighting and media scuffle, who is protecting the consumers? Will all these lead to lower rates and more reliable service? We all know the answer is no.
Therefore, it is high time for the House Committee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Mikey Arroyo, to side with consumers by consolidating and hearing all pending Electric Cooperative-related House Resolutions.
Moreover, we respectfully call on the Senate Energy Committee, chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, to jointly launch a comprehensive legislative investigation with the lower house to ensure that electric cooperatives do not shortchange and subject consumers to mediocre and inefficient services.
All contending parties in the BENECO and all other electric cooperatives should be made accountable. These are questions that need clear answers from them:
- In what way will this bickering lead to the lowering of prices of electricity?
- In what way will your cut-throat moves to grab electric cooperative positions improve services to member consumers?
- In what way will this bickering be able to uphold and advance the welfare of electricity consumers?
– Nic Satur Jr., National Coordinator