The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) brouhaha has apparently been resolved with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) imposing its authority by finally revoking and recalling the appointment of a general manager issued by its own Board of Administrators ( BOA) ,
suspending for several months some of the officers of BENECO and removing all current director members of its Board and replacing them with a task force on an interim status.

The NEA likewise, thru its administrator Mariano Antonio Almeda designated engineer Ramel Rifani, himself a manager of Beneco’s Non-Network Services Department, as the acting general manager (GM) for six months while the search for the next GM of BENECO is underway. For his part NEA Administrator Almeda was in turn designated by Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla as the
project supervisor of Beneco. With the removal of all members of the BENECO Board Almeda now as project supervisor has ordered the creation of a taskforce, comprising one representative each from the business sector, the consumer/professional sector,the religious sector, the academe and the agriculture sector.

They will serve as the interim Board of Directors for a period of six months or until a new set of board of directors shall have been elected. In so far as the leadership crisis that has hounded BENECO over the past several months is concerned it would seem that a positive and correct decision has been made by the NEA top brass.

But is it really game over? Admittedly, for the next six months the intention of NEA is to not only supervise the management and operation of the electric cooperative to ensure the delivery of electric service to its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) thru project supervisor Almeda but also to possibly restore the previous AAA category rating of the cooperative which had been downgraded to Category C during the time the NEA’s appointee took over the reins of BENECO.

Quite an admission really coming from the agency where the appointment was originally issued.
Even the GM championed by the MCO’s did not escape the cleansing measures undertaken by the NEA-BOA when it imposed a 45-day suspension against Assistant General Manager Engr. Melchor Licoben, as well as other officers of the cooperative, finding them administratively liable in relation to the “adverse findings and observations on the financial and management audit done on the electric cooperative from January 2018 to Dec. 31, 2020.”

The same basis was used in removing all of the Board of Directors of the cooperative. Now that the dust has apparently settled it is vital that those temporarily charged with the administration, supervision and operation of BENECO should do everything possible to once again attain the AAA
category of the cooperative. It also behooves upon them especially project supervisor Almeda to immediately jumpstart the process of electing a new set of board of directors as well as a new
general manager.

And this has to be done if NEA wants to ensure that the affairs of the cooperative are being managed properly as is its mandate. But in all of this, some vital questions need to be asked such
as, does a Category C, apparently caused by the GM appointee of NEA which the latter admits, mean that the over all performance of the cooperative has taken a turn for the worse? Does this mean that due to the poor performance of the cooperative consumers would likely encounter more
brownouts and possibly on a regular basis? How much is the debt of the cooperative from the
government and how is BENECO paying it back?

To the MCOs now the time to help BENECO and its temporary leaders restore the efficiency and productivity of the cooperative even while we await the next set of capable elected leaders to lead the campaign. By the way as a backgrounder on the previous postings of NEA administrator Mariano Antonio Almedam as well as his past history with the energy community, “he served as the deputy executive director of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), having been appointed to this position by then Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Energy in the Lower House and vice chairman of JCPC.

He played a pivotal role in the privatization process of energy assets and the formulation of energy bills. Almeda was tasked with overseeing the privatization process of the various power plants of the National Power Corporation (NPC) — from the formulation of the terms of references to the final bidding award. In addition to this, Almeda was actively involved in the formulation of the bill for the Epira Amendments. The bill was eventually passed into law as R. A. 9136 and as R.A. 9513
also known as the Renewable Energy Law”. (https:// nani-almeda-named-neachief/ power/)

Amianan Balita Ngayon