The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has urged the electric cooperatives (ECs) to increase their efforts in reaching the country’s remote and rural areas that have not been energized yet.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong made the call at a recent gathering of general managers of different ECs to discuss the progress of the government’s total electrification program.
As of end-August this year, Masongsong said the overall level of consumer connections within the 121 ECs’ coverage areas nationwide has reached 12,540,639 or 83 percent.
Of the 121 ECs supervised by the agency, 53 ECs fall below 90 percent energization level.
The NEA chief, however, said ECs need to do more to electrify the areas that remain unlit. He noted that of the 121 ECs supervised by the agency, 53 ECs fall below 90 percent energization level.
“So it’s a challenge. What can we, as a movement of electric cooperatives, do to help our sister electric cooperatives to fast-track energization?” Masongsong said. “We need to help each other.”
Moreover, Masongsong outlined a number of strategies that the ECs may consider to speed up the electrification of areas within their respective coverage areas that are still without power, aside from maximizing the government subsidy.
These include accessing the Energy Regulation No. 1-94 program, availing grants and donations, using EC’s internally generated funds, through qualified third party (QTP), private sector participation (PSP), and additional capital expenditure.
“These should be considered as another wake-up call that should be addressed positively by all of us.”
For 2019, NEA will get P1.1B from the national government to finance the sitio electrification program. The amount is lower than the P1.8B allotted in 2018 and will only cover 775 sitios compared to the 1,817 sitios of the current year.
The general managers of each EC were gathered by the NEA for a dialogue last October 4. Other issues raised during the dialogue included the proposed legislative measures posing challenges to the rural electrification sector.
Masongsong said the ECs should take these as a challenge. “These should be considered as another wake-up call that should be addressed positively by all of us,” the NEA chief said.
Among the EC organizations that were present at the dialogue were the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc., National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives, and the Central Luzon Electric Cooperatives Association.