DOE’s electrification program 91% off-target, says COA

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    THE Department of Energy’s boast to achieve 100 percent electrification for all household was nowhere near the ballpark.

    In the 2019 audit of the DOE, the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that the P500 million Total Electrification Program (TEP) will not benefit the targeted 450,000 families as initially planned.

    DOE’s estimates are in fact way off the mark, with the detailed breakdown of the program budget showing only 38,092 of power-less households will be connected – a 91.54 percent drop from the original target.

    In its report, the audit team did not pull its punches, pinning the blame squarely on Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

    “The TEP with a total budget of P500 million does set target of P450,000 HHs for electrification was operationalized through the directive of the DOE Secretary and without the prior approval of the Project Review Committee,” it pointed out.

    Auditors said other than quoting the half-billion pesos tag price and the target figure, the project cited little else.

    “TEP has no clear and concrete guidelines on the implementation for CY 2019 and 2020 which could affect the efficient utilization of funds and implementation of electrification of targeted HHs,” they noted.

    In its comment, the DOE management said its “Task Force E-Power Mo” will work to enhance existing guidelines on the implementation particularly on the observance of the timetable by the contractors.

    It threatened to impose penalties “to ensure efficient and effective implementation.”
    According to the initial plan, the TEP will deliver power to the target beneficiary families both through grid electrification and off-grid.

    In the 2019 budget, it earmarked P495 million for “power supply systems” with the P5 million balance to be spent on maintenance and other operating expenses.

    Under the same plan, the project implementation will be spearheaded by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which was also authorized to identify the household beneficiaries.

    Despite the lack of detailed planning, the project and its hefty allocation still passed through the budget process.

    “Review of the submitted documents revealed that there were no …detailed guidance on program strategies, operational activities, implementing processes, reporting requirements, monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and responsibilities of key stakeholders that would enhance the achievement of the program outputs,” the Commission on Audit said.

    In a January 7, 2020 letter submitted to the COA, the director of the Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) informed the audit team that the TEP was “a directive from the Secretary and did not pass through the DOE Projects Review Committee (PRC).

    “It was only during the various information, education and campaign workshops conducted during the year that the proposed sub-projects were finalized and approved by the DOE,” the audit team said.

    The results showed the original projections have been overly optimistic as the tag price of connection through various systems showed costs per household ranging from P27,478 to as high as P83,703.70.

    Based on these calculations the DOE would have to spend P495 million to connect 38,092 households.