In response to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide electricity access for every household, a new policy that would fast-track the energization of rural and remote areas in the country is underway, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said.
Administrator Edgardo Masongsong made the statement Thursday (September 14) when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Sen. Loren Legarda, to present the state-owned corporation's P4.9-billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2018.
During the hearing, Legarda said private sector participation should be encouraged for the agency to achieve its goal of completing the rural electrification program of the government before President Duterte steps down in 2022.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, likewise urged NEA to take advantage of latest technologies, such as the micro-grid systems, to reach far-flung areas that have no access to power grid and still remain unserved.
Gatchalian also mentioned there are some private distribution utilities that have already expressed interest in building micro-grid systems in areas or sitios left unserved or underserved by the electric cooperatives (ECs).
"Micro-grid systems are now available here in the Philippines and we can take advantage of this to fill in the gap dahil hindi talaga mabigyan ng pera 'yung sitio electrification program. Pero kung merong opportunity for the private sector to come in, then, let's embrace it," he said.
Masongsong said the NEA is preparing a policy that would fast-track the implementation of rural electrification to maximize, among others, micro-grid and solar home systems, as well as access to sustainable energy program. It will be presented to the 121 ECs next month.
"Electric cooperatives should fast-track electrification and should open up through installation of micro-grids, allowing private distribution utilities should they be interested to energize an area, as well as maximizing solar home system and access to sustainable energy program,” Masongsong told the senators.
"Your policy is most welcome. That will change the whole landscape and we hope the policy will be in favor of the poor, unelectrified, unserved, underserved communities in the country," Legarda said.
The rural electrification agency is seeking a P4.9-billion budget next year, with the bulk of it allocated to fund long- and short-term loans for the capital expenditure requirements of the ECs’ and other power distribution projects.
Source: (Main Article) http://www.nea.gov.ph/news/530-nea-draws-up-new-policy-to-fast-track-rural-electrification