NEA: Less sitios to be energized this year

    392

    The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said electrification of the remaining target sitios for the year may not be met as it remitted a total of P1.3 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury to help government efforts in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Edgardo Masongsong, NEA administrator, said in a virtual briefing the number of sitios to be included in the Sitio Electrification Program this year is revised to 635, from the original target of 964 sitios.

    He said as of June 30, energization of 181 sitios has been completed, 86 of which are in Luzon, 74 in Mindanao and 21 in Visayas. There is ongoing construction in 297 sitios, while the remaining 157 sitios are still waiting for the release of the 2020 budget.

    “To help in the country’s fight against COVID-19, the NEA remitted P1.3 billion to the Bureau of Treasury. Of the amount, P1.26 billion represents unutilized subsidy funds received in 2016, while the P85.71 million given earlier represents dividends to the national government for 2019 operations,” Masongsong explained.

    He added that apart from the funding constraint, ongoing projects were also hampered due to difficulty in conducting onsite inspection and monitoring which also affected the completion of the P153 million off-grid solar project for 5,000 households.

    Despite the situation, Masongsong said the target to complete the electrification of all sitios in the country by 2022 is still doable provided that a fund of P20 billion will be allocated for the project.

    As of February 2020, the overall level of energization within the coverage areas of electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide is at 96 percent, or 13,705,136 connections out of the 14,335,784 potential consumers based on the 2015 census.

    Meanwhile, NEA also mentioned that it extended the payment deadline for the loan amortization of ECs.