NEA ahead of target electrification pace in first half

THE NATIONAL Electrification Administration (NEA) said Tuesday that it has brought power to a total of 590 rural villages or more than half of its 2021 target during the six months ending June.

The majority of this year’s “energized” sitios are located in Mindanao.

“For the first semester of the current year, the NEA has completed the energization of 590 sitios out of the target 1,085 under the sitio electrification project (SEP). Of the completed SEPs, 77 are located in Luzon. 187 in the Visayas and 326 in Mindanao,” NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong said during a virtual news conference Tuesday.

This year, the agency is working with a budget of P1.63 billion provided for under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

Previously, the NEA said it needs P16.76 billion in additional funds 2026 to power up more than 11,000 villages under the SEP.

At present, the NEA is also working on various renewable energy projects, including the installation of solar home system units in 5,000 households in Palawan, Iloilo, Camarines Sur, Cotabato and Zamboanga, Deputy Administrator Artis Nikki L. Tortola said during the virtual event.

He added that the agency completed feasibility studies for the hybridization of diesel power plants with renewable energy and battery energy storage on 10 islands in Northern and Western Samar.

“We have started preparing for the bidding process for these projects,” he said.

Mr. Tortola said that agency is also conducting a study on establishing hybrid mini-grid systems using renewable energy in six off-grid areas covered by the Quezon II Electric Cooperative, Inc., Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc., and South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc.

In a separate statement Tuesday, the NEA said it has lent P293.02 million to 13 electric cooperatives (ECs) as of the end of June.

Some P165.85 million went to eight ECs to fund their respective capital expenditure (capex) projects, while the remainder, P57.17 million, went to five ECs as calamity loans to rehabilitate power distribution systems damaged by typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses.

ECs can avail of financial assistance from the NEA through the agency’s enhanced lending program. — Angelica Y. Yang

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