By Myrna M. Velasco – October 16, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
The aggregate amount of loans granted to electric cooperatives (ECs) this year already reached P1.8 billion, surpassing the P1.7 billion originally budgeted for such purpose by the National Electrification Administration.
The state-run electrification agency emphasized that the entire allocation had been soaked up by the targeted power utilities three months ahead of schedule.
As culled from NEA’s accounts management and guarantee department, the extent of loans extended to ECs had been funneled generally to calamity loans – with 57 ECs availing of it as of end-September.
According to NEA, it released about P1.049 billion to 45 ECs “to finance capital expenditure projects.”
In addition, the agency channeled P99 million to six other electric cooperatives for the repair and rehabilitation of damaged distribution facilities “due to previous typhoons” – including Lawin, Urduja and Vinta; as well as the other natural disasters that walloped various parts of the country.
On the calamity loan, the ECs that availed of it had been Isabela II Electric Cooperative; Biliran Electric Cooperative, Inc., Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc., First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, Inc., Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc.
As explained by NEA Acting Deputy Administrator Vicar Loureen G. Lofranco, the agency provides calamity loan “as financial assistance in order to repair damaged distribution system and restore immediately power supply to their member-consumer-owners.”
It is very critical that electricity service be brought back promptly at each strike of calamities because consumers’ tolerance would be at its lowest in these times – and it is also a measure of operational efficiency of the ECs serving them.
NEA similarly noted that Quezon I Electric Cooperative Inc. accessed P20 million credit facility “to finance its monthly shortfall on the settlement of power accounts with generation companies,” as well as that of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
For a number of electric cooperatives in Mindanao, P134 million had been released for their procurement of modular generator sets – including that of Misamis Oriental I Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Misamis Oriental II Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative, Inc.; and Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc.
In the case of Zamboanga Electric Cooperative Inc., it availed of P145 million worth of stand-by credit loan facility, “to strengthen its credit-worthiness with the generation companies and the market operator,” referring to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.