P29B needed for total electrification target
A P29-billion budget is needed to deliver electricity in all households nationwide in the next five years, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said on Thursday.
NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano C. Almeda said in a media briefing that to date, 600,000 households in the main grid are still without power supply and another 23,000 households in off-grid areas.
The breakdown of the budget, according to Mr. Almeda, is P20 billion for the complete electrification of on-grid areas, and about P9 billion for those off-grid.
Based on NEA’s total electrification masterplan as of Dec. 2022, a total of 10,212 sitios or small communities are still without power supply.
“If we can present to Congress, to the Department of Energy, that we have streamlined the monitoring and implementation of the Sitio Electrification Plan, that we have set the target, at that I think Congress would be mindful to support this program, that we have to reach 100% electrification,” Mr. Almeda said.
In a separate statement, NEA said it aims to achieve its full electrification target by 2028 by ensuring that Sitio Electrification Program funds are well-utilized.
“The remaining 10,212 unenergized sitios will be implemented for 2023 to 2028,” it said.
Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 tasks the NEA with overseeing missionary electrification and providing financial, institutional and technical assistance to electric cooperatives.
NEA will also assist with the implementing rules and regulations of the Microgrid Systems Act, which aims to accelerate total electrification in unserved and underserved areas.
In its report, NEA said the biggest challenge to achieve 100% rural electrification is the “inadequate government’s subsidy to finance the energization of the remaining unenergized areas.”
Mr. Almeda said they are also addressing issues on transparency and accountability, particularly with the electric cooperatives.
“If you look back taking into consideration the process of the past, the accountability have to be transparent, the accountability has to be data driven, the electric cooperatives should realize that this is public money, because in my experience, I have seen the implementation could be… there have been a lot of loopholes in terms of liquidation,” he said.
Cooperatives with pending liquidation requirements are unable to secure funding under the Sitio Electrification Program, he said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose