More rural communities within the coverage area of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco II) will be connected to the electricity grid this year under the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).

According to Engr. Crisanto Sotelo, general manager of Socoteco II, electrification work has started in February to power up 46 more sitios included in the SEP of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

“In the past years, we are striving to remain true to our commitment of delivering electrification to rural and remote areas, including the hardest-to-reach homes in Mindanao. Once energized, we expect the social and economic benefits in these areas to be significant,” NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said.

“Since the beginning of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) in 2011, there has been a massive implementation of the electrification program.”

Of the number, 11 sitios are located in Brgy. Datal Bukay, Municipality of Glan in Sarangani province. With the total cost of P61.46 million, Socoteco II expects the completion of these electrification projects within this year, which will benefit more than 1,800 households.

“Since the beginning of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) in 2011, there has been a massive implementation of the electrification program,” General Manager Sotelo said.

Sitio Colambog, a small community of around 100 households, became the first among 11 sitios in Datal Bukay that was energized. On February 18, inhabitants of this community celebrated the arrival of electricity after living for decades without access to power.

Before electricity was available, some of the residents in Sitio Colambog relied on kerosene lamps as their primary source of lighting after dark, while the others had small solar panels.

Barangay Datal Bukay captain Rodolfo Mabuhay expects electricity connection to improve productive hours in a household, enhance children’s education, and boost the livelihood in the area.

“We are striving to remain true to our commitment of delivering electrification to rural and remote areas, including the hardest-to-reach homes in Mindanao.”

Bringing power to far-flung and isolated areas is never easy, as there are also challenges involved. Socoteco II cited accessibility and security as among the hindrances to power development efforts.

In 2018, Socoteco II was able to connect 11 sitios.

To houses that cannot be connected to the grid due to distance, Socoteco II will be providing solar home systems (SHS), thanks to European Union’s Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP).

In 2018, Socoteco II installed 2,500 units of SHS to households located in the Municipality Malungon, Sarangani. For this year, Socoteco II has 7,500 units of SHS to be distributed to households located within the cooperative’s franchise area.

Socoteco II is a mega large electric cooperative rated AAA by the NEA serving General Santos City, Sarangani Province, and Tupi and Polomolok of South Cotabato.

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