NEA seeks P3.9B budget

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    The National Electrification Administration (NEA) is seeking a P3.9-billion budget for next year, 30 percent lower from P2.3 billion last year.

    Of the P3.9 billion, P1.6 billion is allotted for the energization of over a thousand sitios.

    The figure, which was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was presented by NEA at the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberation on the proposed budget of the Department of Energy and its attached agencies for 2021 earlier this week.

    NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the figure is based on the 2021 National Expenditure Program.

    Around P1.8 billion will be subsidized by the national government while the remaining P2.1 billion will be sourced from NEA’s internally-generated funds. Of that, P1.6 billion will go to sitio electrification projects with P200 million for the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund.

    Masongsong said the P1.6-billion subsidy will only electrify 1,085 sitios next year. Another 12,000 sitios or 1.7 million households across the country still need to be energized.

    The amount will also fund the connection of additional 400,000 consumers; reduction of system loss to 12 percent; collection efficiency of 97.23 percent; release of P500 million loans to electric cooperatives (ECs); and continued realization of a net margin for the year.

    “For total electrification by 2022, we need more or less P15 billion. That is why we requested P7.5 billion for sitio electrification for 2021 but the (DBM-approved) level is only about P1.6 billion,” Masongsong said.

    As of June 30 this year, NEA and the 121 ECs nationwide have energized 123,726 sitios or 84 percent of the targeted 147,989 sitios and contributed to the provision of electricity to 13.85 million consumer connections nationwide to date.

    NEA was granted a P2.3- billion budget for rural electrification projects this year. — Jed Macapagal