Electric coops top 14-M customer-connections

Published March 15, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Despite funding shortfall precipitated by the pandemic, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) reported that the country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) still surpassed its targeted 14 million customer-connections as of end-December last year.

The government-run agency said the customer-connections had been higher by 62,905 versus target, with new EC subscribers reaching 522,905, or 14 percent more vis-à-vis the programmed electrification of 460,000 customers.

That achievement, according to NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong, “reflects the hard work and commitment of the NEA and the 121 electric cooperatives to provide and extend electricity services to Filipinos living in rural areas even though faced with challenges by the pandemic.”

With the added customer-connections last year, the NEA-Information Technology and Communication Services Department (NEA-ITCSD) noted that overall customer-connections served by the ECs already hovered at 14,253,053.

Based on breakdown provided by the state-run agency, the lion’s share of customer-connections are in Luzon with 47-percent fraction in the pie or 6.682 million followed by Visayas with 27-percent share for 3.788 million connections, and Mindanao with 26-percent share for 3.783 million energized customers.

Given that recent milestone on energization in various parts of the country, NEA expounded that the ‘unserved customers’ in the rural areas had so far been pared to 1,550,510 end-users.

On last year’s electrification feat, it was shown that the bulk of the connections at 341,252 customers had been in the franchise area of Batangas II Electric Cooperative Inc. (BATELEC II) followed by South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO II) for 274,239 connections.

The other ECs that turned in significant customer-connections were Albay Electric Cooperative Inc. (ALECO) for 273,668 end-users; Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative Inc. (CENPELCO) with 268,830 connections; and Central Negros Electric Cooperative Inc. for 247,744 connections.

The joint electrification triumph of the ECs and NEA earned recognition from Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who conveyed to them during the recent NEA-EC Communicators’ Conference, that “for the past five decades, NEA has been vital in improving the lives of our people by providing total electrification in our rural areas.”

The Cabinet secretary also said hopes are being raised that with the electric cooperatives as the agency’s implementing arm in the mandated mission of rural electrification, even in economically unviable areas, the country’s “Sitio” electrification program could also be reinforced further.

Nograles similarly cited the massive efforts being undertaken by the ECs in restoring electricity services every time their facilities are adversely affected or downed by natural calamities.