By Lenie Lectura – September 19, 2017
from Business Mirror
THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) is crafting a policy meant to fast-track the implementation of the country’s rural electrification program.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said his office strongly proposed that all electric cooperatives (ECs) put up micro-grid facilities and solar home systems to foster the establishment of more alternative sources of power, particularly in off-grid areas.
“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 said.
The plan would be presented to 121 ECs next month.
In a recent Senate hearing, Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, 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 ECs.
“Micro-grid systems are now available here in the Philippines and we can take advantage of this to fill in the gap. If there is opportunity for the private sector to come in, then, let’s embrace it,” he said.
The state-owned corporation has proposed a P4.9-billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. Bulk of the amount would be allocated to fund long- and short-term loans for the capital expenditure requirements of the ECs and other power-distribution projects.