P900M needed to rehab electric cooperatives

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    Almost P900 million is needed for the rehabilitation of electric cooperatives (ECs) affected by the recent typhoon, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

    In a letter to the Department of Budget and Management, Edgardo Masongsong, NEA administrator, appealed to the agency to release funds for the rehabilitation and restoration of electricity service by 27 ECs whose power distribution facilities were severely damaged by Typhoon Tisoy.

    As of Tuesday, NEA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department reported that the initial cost of damage to the ECs’ infrastructure is at P899.632 million.

    Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative Inc. incurred the most damage amounting to P137.5 million, followed by Albay Electric Cooperative Inc. at P134.5 million and Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. at P123.421 million.

    Damage sustained by Northern Samar Electric Cooperative Inc. was pegged at P88.058 million, Masbate Electric Cooperative Inc. at P56.600 million and Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative at P55.441 million.

    “To address the urgency of the need to rehabilitate and restore electric service in the coverage areas of these ECs, the NEA and its partner ECs are requesting/appealing for the much needed financial assistance in the form of subsidy/grant from the national government,” Masongsong said in the letter.

    He said the ECs’ internally generated funds cannot cover such funding requirement since their rate structure, as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, does not include any provision for capital expenditure requirement attributable to the damage caused by calamities.

    Earlier, Masongsong said NEA cannot implement the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act as the initial P750-million funding for its implementation is yet to be provided.

    Meanwhile, NEA expects 80 percent restoration of power in all affected areas by December 20, as the ECs have been working round-the-clock to restore electricity service.

    An estimated 514,570 households in 17 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas covered by 27 ECs are still without electricity, based on data submitted by the power distribution utilities as of Tuesday.

    However, power has been fully restored to 180 typhoon-hit cities and municipalities as service is partially restored in 96 cities and municipalities, while restoration is ongoing for the remaining 36 cities and towns.

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