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NEA may attain electrification goal by June 2022

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — State-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) may meet the  100 percent household electrification target of the Duterte administration by June next year if based on the 2015 census as electric cooperatives (ECs) have already given electricity access to 99 percent of the total potential household.

In a virtual briefing yesterday, NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said there are 14.34 million households that need electricity access based on the 2015 census, of which 14.253 million are already connected as of end-2020.

“If we talk about giving access to all households, we’re almost done per census as of 2015,” he said.

However, Masongsong said the agency would fall short of the target if the number of potential households would  be based on the latest census.

“If we base it on the recent census, if there are already 2020 figures, it will become a moving target,” he said.

When it comes to connecting sitios to the power grid, Masongsong said the agency would  not be able to meet the June 2022 target given budget constraints.

“If we’re talking about connecting sitios to the grid, we won’t be able to meet the target since our data would show that we still have 12,000 sitios that need to be connected to the grid,” Masongsong said.

To be able to connect these sitios, the NEA has estimated a budget of P18 billion to complete the task.

“To construct lines to all remaining sitios…maybe we need more or less P18 billion. That is why the representatives in the House of Representatives are working in the interest of ECs sitio electrification project,” Masongsong said.

For this year, the national government has granted a budget of P1.627 billion to NEA for its Sitio Electrification Program (SEP), which will only cover 1,085 sitios.

For next year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has recommended the same amount for SEP.

NEA deputy administrator for corporate resources and financial services Sonia San Diego said the agency’s technical services is currently prioritizing the targets for sitio electrification.

“We will prioritize those with low electrification level like in Mindanao areas,” she said.

Even with the current restrictions enforced by the national government due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the 121 ECs continue to bring electricity to far-flung and remote villages in the country.

Based on latest data on the energization status within the franchise areas of the 121 ECs, 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,387 municipalities, 36,080 barangays, and 125,123 sitios and 14.253 million consumers have been provided with electricity.

For the first semester NEA has completed the energization of 590 sitios out of the target 1,085 sitios under the SEP. Of the completed SEP projects, 77 are located in Luzon, 187 in Visayas, and 326 in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the NEA has extended a total of P293.021 million worth of loans, including calamity loans, to 13 ECs as of end-June.  Of the amount, P165.849 million went to eight ECs for their capital expenditure projects.

Meanwhile, the balance amounting to P57.172 million went to five ECs as calamity loans, which they used for the repair and rehabilitation of their damaged power distribution systems due to previous typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses.

The NEA has been offering financial assistance to ECs through its Enhanced Lending Program, which consists of regular, calamity and concessional loans, stand-by and short-term credit loans, single-digit system loss, renewable energy and modular generator sets loan.

The calamity loan has a maximum 10-year repayment term, with a grace period of one year and an interest rate of 3.25 percent per annum.

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