by Riza T. Olchondra, 25 February 2015
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–The National Electrification Administration (NEA) and its partner electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide have only energized about two-thirds of the rural communities targeted, but they have redoubled their effort to meet their goal by mid-2016.
NEA said that, as of January this year, 21,543 of the 32,441 targeted sitios, or communities, have already seen power installed under the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).
This brought the number of households powered up to an initial 646,290, benefiting some 3.23 million Filipinos, the NEA said in a report.
In January 2015 alone, 1,030 sitios were electrified under SEP.
For the calendar year 2014, the NEA said 7,567 sitios were energized—6.98 percent more than the target of 7,073 sitios.
Since 2011, NEA has received from the government a total of P16.881 billion for the SEP.
The electrification of the sitios was accomplished in spite of the massive rehabilitation effort put in by NEA and the ECs to restore power in areas affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in November 2013, Administrator Edita S. Bueno said.
Task Force Kapatid Yolanda, which was initiated on Nov. 12, 2013, gathered volunteers from 70 electric cooperatives nationwide and from 11 domestic and international organizations. The TFK had brought relief to 33 affected ECs, covering 341 municipalities, 7,052 barangays and 1,428,636 households, the NEA said.
To fast-track the program, the NEA has included house wiring and installation costs for the initial 30 households, accredited regional technical evaluators, created for each EC a Sitio Implementation Unit; encouraged participation of civil society organizations; issued unbundled price index of 5 MVA and 10 MVA substations; and complied with COA rules and regulations.
Also, the state-run agency will fully launch its Build-Back-Better Program this year with the issuance of policy and implementing guidelines designed to facilitate project implementation, the NEA reported.