Electric coops report rise in new customers

Published June 16, 2021, 4:20 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Despite the torment of the lingering pandemic, the country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) were able to expand their new customers by 10.67 percent in the first quarter this year versus the same period in 2020.

Data from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) showed that ECs customers’ reached 148,792 versus last year’s new customer connections of 134,435.

According to Roderick Padua, manager of NEA’s Information Technology and Communication Services Department, the scale of new customers within January to March this year already accounts for 37 percent of the overall target of 400,000 new connections for full year 2021.

NEA thus noted that with the recent accomplishment of the ECs on customer-connections, the overall energization level ratcheted up to 90-percent.

To date, the government-run agency reckoned that 14,446,299 Filipino customers have already been connected with electricity services across all areas served by the ECs.

Specifically, NEA indicated that bulk of the power customers connected had been in Luzon for 6,745,982 and that redounds to 95-percent electrification level; Visayas followed with 3,826,682 connections for 93-percent energization; and then Mindanao with 3,873,635 customer-connections, albeit that is at relatively lower electrification level of just 80-percent.

But while the electric cooperatives have been ramping up on providing energy services to consumers in their respective jurisdictions, NEA admitted that more work needs to be done in achieving full electrification of the country.

It stressed that unserved customers are still staggering at 1,452,425 – and that has been based yet on 2015 census of population and housing; entailing then that the number could still climb once the country’s population survey is updated.

NEA previously sounded off hurdles, such as financing deficiency as well as Covid-19 movement restrictions, as among those affecting the activities of ECs when it comes to advancing the electricity access of various communities, especially those in the off-grid and remote areas.

And in the overall goal of increasing the magnitude of electrification in various communities, NEA and the ECs are likewise pushing for the deployment of renewable energy technologies or hybrid facilities so these can help tame the country’s carbon footprints.