National Electrification Administration (NEA) Edgardo Masongsong spearheaded the switch-on ceremony for the electrification of sitios within the coverage area of the Surigao del Sur I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SURSECO I) during the distribution utility’s 46th founding anniversary celebration.
Masongsong was assisted by Energy Undersecretary Benito Ranque, SURSECO I General Manager Joceler Moralda, and the Board of Directors led by President Pacinta Saligumba. The switch-on ceremony was held at SURSECO I’s newly inaugurated Member-Consumer-Owners (MCO) Center in San Fernando, Bislig City.
In his address, Masongsong thanked SURSECO I for helping NEA in its continuing efforts to bring light to the sitios or far-flung areas in different parts of the country under the government’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).
“Ang rural electrification ay kailangan ipagpatuloy kasi hindi pa ito tapos. Kahit na almost 100 percent na ang inyong electrification sa inyong mga sitios,” Masongsong said. Citing SURSECO I’s data, he added, there are only 2,000 households that remain unenergized within the cooperative’s franchise area.
“Rural electrification is not just about construction of lines reaching the last household in our franchise area; it’s about social and economic development in the countryside; it’s about sustainable rural development through rural electrification,” the NEA chief stressed.
He further explained that rural electrification plays an important role towards rural development as envisioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in realizing the Ambisyon Natin 2040, the government’s 25-year roadmap to end poverty in the country.
In 2016, SURSECO I was able to energize 2,272 homes, bringing the total service connections of the cooperative to 74,747. Bislig City has the highest service connections, followed by Barobo, Hinatuan, Tagbina, and Lingig.
Among the highlights of SURSECO I’s anniversary celebration were the blessing of the cooperative’s newly renovated substations in San Fernando and Tabon, and the establishment of an MCO Center, which Masongsong helped finance through his annual development allocation when he was 1-CARE party-list representative.
The San Fernando Substation underwent a rehabilitation of its feeder structure where a 69kV power circuit breaker was installed. The Tabon Substation, on the other hand, has been uprated from the previous 5 MVA (megavolt amperes) to 10 MVA power transformer.
SURSECO I is a triple A rated electric cooperative. At the NEA Lumens Awards held recently in Tagum City, the power distribution utility received the following awards and citations: AAA EC, Best Region, EC with Majority Female Board of Directors, and EC with Fully Liquidated Subsidy Fund for Rural Electrification.