by Myrna Velasco, 06 July 2015
from Manila Bulletin
The Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) of the National Power Corporation will be ramping up electricity service in at least two islands in the Bicol region and Western Samar.
In a statement to the media, the state-run firm has noted that it recently awarded to private sector player Power Dimensions Inc. the construction of 90-kilowatt and 100-kW facilities in Calaguas island in Camarines Norte and Camandag Island in Western Samar, respectively.
The power firm has been fast-tracking the privatization of many island grids in bids to sustain round-the-clock electricity service in these areas.
For the two projects in Camarines Norte and Western Samar, NPC noted that it has earmarked P37.271 million as capital outlay.
The state-run power firm said these facility deployments “are expected to heighten up the economic livelihood, tourism and development programs of the said islands.” According to NPC, Calaguas island has 1,232 households; while its main socio-economic feature delves with tourism sites like beaches and trekking sites. Camandag island, on the other, has 910 households. The area thrives with its fishing and copra industries; as well as potential on eco-tourism.
NPC noted that the construction of distribution lines will be covered by the Sitio Electrification Program and the Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP) as underpinned by the National Electrification Administration.
Such will be done in collaboration with the servicing distribution utilities (DUs) – the Samar Electric Cooperative Cooperative (SAMELCO) and Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative (CASURECO).
NPC’s residual mandate, post privatization of its big-ticket assets, will be to cater to the electricity needs of the SPUG and far-flung areas.
It has emphasized that these so-called missionary areas typically have “low population densities”, hence, generally dissuading power companies from investing “because of high operating cost, challenges in construction and fuel delivery.”