NEA plans big loans to electric cooperatives

By Myrna M. Velasco – August 19, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

State-run agency National Electrification Administration (NEA) will be funneling bulk of its P4.9-billion budget for 2018 to loans and energization projects of electric cooperatives (ECs).

It said the credit window for the ECs could come in the form of either short- or long-term loans – and could be utilized for their required capital spending and other electrification ventures.

Of the proposed budget for the agency for next year, tangibly specified to be released as loan to ECs would be P1.7 billion.

The budget for NEA had been presented to the Congress on Thursday (August 17), as part of the deliberations to next year’s General Appropriations Act.

As fleshed out, the allocation for the agency shall be for the targeted energization of 1,817 sitios; construction of power distribution lines for resettlement areas in Zamboanga City; establishment of a quick response fund during calamities; and connection of additional 460,000 consumers.

The others shall be earmarked for the reduction of system loss – at least to the level of 10.70 percent; collection efficiency of 99 percent; and realization of a net margin from the agency’s financial operation.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the extent of the corporate operating budget recommended for them by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will enable them to keep their goal on specified work plan and corresponding targets.

He cited that the sitio electrification level, in particular, shall level up to 86-percent by end next year; from a leaner 83 percent in 2016.

The higher end of that target still, he said, could be as high as 89 percent, provided NEA’s allocation would be hiked to R5.22 billion.

The agency expounded that out of the P4.9 billion budget, “P1.96 billion will be subsidized by the national government; while the remaining P2.94 billion will be sourced from the internally-generated funds of the agency.”

It said the state subsidy “will be used to finance the remaining sitio electrification projects and the construction of distribution lines in resettlement sites for the victims of natural and man-made calamities, including those displaced by the 2013 Zamboanga siege.”