16-M Pinoys do not have access to electricity – study

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - About 16 million people in the Philippines still do not have access to electricity, forming part of the 130 million in Southeast Asia who still do not have access to electricity.

This is according to the government think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in a study by Adoracion Navarro, a senior research fellow of the Institute, Maxensius Tri Sambodo of Indonesian Institute of Sciences Economic Research Center, and Jessie Todoc, Philippines Country Manager of Southeast Asia Energy Access and Alternative Energy, International Copper Association Southeast Asia.

“In the Philippines, 16 million of the population are without electricity,” PIDS said.

And the problem persists in neighboring countries as well. In Indonesia, for instance, 63 million of its population is still without electricity and in Myanmar, 26 million, the think-tank said.

In Cambodia the number is 10 million and in Thailand, eight million. Vietnam, meanwhile, has two million people who have no access to electricity, almost the same as Lao PDR’s 2.2 million. In Malaysia, the number is only 200,000.

In the region, only Singapore and Brunei Darussalam have 100-percent electrification rate, PIDS said.

At the current situation, about 63 million of the ASEAN population of 600 million is expected to still have no electricity in 2030, PIDS said in its study, citing projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

 â€œLack of electricity access is much greater in rural areas than in urban areas. Improving the rural electrification ratio is a major challenge both at the national and regional levels considering the level of electricity access among the 10 ASEAN members,” PIDS said. 

In the Philippines, PIDS noted that the country has a total electrification rate of 83 percent. Its urban electrification rate is 94 percent, which is 21 notches higher than its 73-percent rural electrification rate. 

“Nevertheless, about half or 47 million people rely on traditional biomass for cooking,” PIDS said.

The authors recommend linking the benefits from and strategies in ASEAN Energy Market Integration (AEMI) with the eradication of energy poverty in Southeast Asia.

“In particular, the investment requirements and financing options should consider the needs of the energy-poor. Energy market integration in the region should also contribute to the respective members’ national economic growth and development, where lack of access to modern energy services is one of the constraints. To achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, the ASEAN would need to invest about $48 million,” PIDS said.

Options to improve access to electricity include on-grid connection extensions, mini-grid distribution systems and off-grid electrification that can be financed by government budget, multilateral and bilateral official development assistance, and the private sector.

The government think-tank attributed the slow growth of electricity in the region to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.





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