By Myrna M. Velasco
Government-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) will be spending ₱2.3 billion this year chiefly for the continued electrification program, which the country targets to bring to 100-percent household connections on or before the end of the Duterte administration.
The agency said of its programmed capital outlay as set forth under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), about ₱1.399 billion will be earmarked for sitio energization.
NEA said it will step up electrification initiatives, and will ramp that up from 586,144 new customer connections it logged last year. At the start of the Duterte administration, the electrification agency indicated that it has more than 2.0 million households to provide with electricity service until 2022.
Fundamentally, it said that from last year’s record, overall energization level under the franchise areas of different electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide already hovered at 95-percent.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the electrification record in 2019 had been 27-percent higher compared to its set target of 460,000 additional customer connections for that particular year.
The agency noted “overall, the level of energization within the coverage areas of non-profit distribution utilities nationwide is at 95 percent or 13,625,857 connections out of 14,335,784 potential consumers based on the 2015 census.”
It said that 47 percent of these consumer-connections or about 6.429 million are in Luzon; followed by Visayas with 27 percent connection level or 3.641 million; whereas Mindanao’s energization is at 26 percent or 3.556 million.
On NEA’s account, the top five provinces with the highest number of electricity services-connections are: Negros Occidential for 616,041; Pangasinan for 561,052; Batangas for 512,242; Cebu for 506,580 and Leyte for 452,531.
Masongsong nevertheless emphasized that the challenge moving forward “is the energization of the remaining 1,874,709 unserved consumers within the coverage areas of 121 electric cooperatives across the country.”
The subsidy funneled by the national government, according to NEA, shall be primarily allotted to electric cooperatives with “low electrification rates – particularly those at 74-percent and below,” but still with a prime requirement that they shall have “good project liquidation performance.”