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POWER COOPS OUT TO PROVE THEY ARE THE KEY TO BRIDGING ELECTRICITY GAPS – MASONGSONG

The electric cooperatives (ECs) under the supervision of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) have reaffirmed their commitment to work together to bridge electricity access gap, especially in remote and far-flung communities with poor living conditions.

In a recent dialogue with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NEA, the general managers of different ECs nationwide committed to submit a master plan identifying the unserved and underserved sitios within their respective franchise areas.

This was in response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to expedite rural electrification by allowing the entry of the private sector, giving the communities more options.

Among the agreements reached during the meeting was for the ECs to prepare and submit in two months a master plan, the purpose of which is to provide a roadmap to meet a specific goal: access to electricity for all by 2022.

The ECs will prepare and submit in two months a master plan, the purpose of which is to provide a roadmap to meet a specific goal: access to electricity for all by 2022.

The DOE, NEA and National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) will also join forces and consolidate their resources to address the concerns of the ECs with respect to lighting up the rural areas that have no electricity. And to assist the ECs to meet their action timelines, composite monitoring teams will be formed.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi underscored the role the ECs play in uplifting the economic status of underprivileged Filipinos.

“Electricity creates wealth. It empowers people to create wealth. So let’s give them the opportunity to uplift their lives by giving them the electricity that they need,” Cusi said.

The energy chief urged power coops to face the challenges in bridging the electricity access gap and be creative in lighting up the rural communities. He said ECs should also find ways to lower down their electricity costs and systems loss to increase their power efficiency.

“The 2022 (timeline) let’s make it happen earlier. Make it happen in 2020 or even earlier. I hope that we can put it in our hearts to really find ways on how to serve our community, especially the less privileged people,” he said.

Moreover, Secretary Cusi assured the power distribution utilities of government’s assistance.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, meanwhile, welcomed the DOE’s support and underlined the agency’s commitment to total electrification.

Masongsong said the NEA and the ECs are “serious” about ensuring electricity access to every Filipino household by 2022 as envisioned by President Duterte.

A total of 114 general managers and representatives from 109 ECs nationwide attended the dialogue with DOE and NEA officials that was held a few days before Holy Week at the NEA H.E.S Auditorium in Diliman, Quezon City.

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