BENGUET Electric Cooperative finally put down its foot and has sued a national bank and a local water delivery firm for stealing electrical power from them.
Beneco, through its network services department manager Ramel Rifani, filed its complaint affidavits against Land Bank of the Philippines and Badiwan Silver Springs Corporation for violation of Republic Act No. 7832 or the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines Pilferage Act of 1994.
Both the affidavits were received by the City Prosecutors Office of Baguio and the Provincial Prosecutor Office of Benguet.
Rifani said that the Land Bank of the Philippines branch at Marcos Highway owes them 10,407.7 kilowatt-hours since it was disconnected last March 16, 2022 and as of July 14, 2022, or a computed bill of P213,931.26.
Rifani said that the LBP branch has not paid its bill from November 2021 to January 2022 and was given its notice of disconnection.
The bank branch said that it has official receipts from Beneco showing that it has paid its bill, but Beneco said that the receipts used were among those receipts taken by Atty. Ana Maria Paz Rafael when she and her group forcefully took over the Beneco headquarters on October 18.
Land Bank, in its letter last March 4, 2022, insisted that it has paid its bill as evidenced by the supposedly stolen receipts and asked Beneco to wait for the decision of the case the cooperative filed against Land Bank before it could disconnect.
On March 16, Beneco disconnected the electric power of the bank branch only to learn later that the line had been restored by a former Beneco linesman, Willer Alipit.
Beneco reported this to the barangay and the police and they charged the Land Bank for the illegal connection. But on March 18, 2022, Alipit, together with Carlo Bentayen and Raul Zamora, reconnected the power supply of Landbank by tapping on the Beneco line without permission.
Beneco said that as of July 14, Landbank has failed to pay its obligation with a final demand made on August 10.
Because of the inaction, Beneco has filed its case of electric pilferage against LBP branch manager Liza Melendez and the three former Beneco linesmen.
Meanwhile, Rifani also filed a case against Badiwan SSC for not paying its bill which has accumulated to P10.048 million.
When Beneco tried to disconnect the firm last January 26, 2022, the firm said that it had paid P2.8 million separately, which falls short of its outstanding balance.