More than 19,000 sitios still without power

TACLOBAN CITY- The National Electrification Administration (NEA) is open for private companies to come in and help energize the more than 19,000 sitios across the country which remain without electric supplies.
This was disclosed by NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong who was in the city Thursday(July 12) afternoon en route to his visit to Calbayog City to attend the agency-sponsored Lumens Awards for outstanding electric cooperatives in Eastern Visayas.
But this early, Masongsong was quick to say that even though it would be a private sector, which he called as qualified third party (QTR), that would provide electricity to these unserved communities, power rate would still be minimal.
“The QTR will charge subsidized rate meaning if for example, its P18 per kilowatt hour just like our experience in Palawan, P8 is being charged to the consumers while the remaining P10 is being subsidized by the government through the so-called universal charge missionary electrification (UCME) which is collected from all the consumers all over the country to help the rural folks,” Masongsong explained.
Masongsong said that as of December 21, 2017, there are still 19,740 sitios across the country involving more than 2.4 million households which remain without electric connections.
He said that they have a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte to energize the 19,740 sitios before he steps down in Malacañang in 2022 which will cost P25 billion in all.
The NEA administrator said that for them to serve the 19,740 sitios, they need to have at least P5.2 billion every year.
“But the problem is just like this year, NEA was only given P1.1 billion for 2019. That is why, we are working with the Department of Budget and Management (for a possible increase of the budget),” Masongsong said.
“On the other hand, we are also open to the private sector to come in and energize the unserved rural communities,” he said.
Masongsong said that the cost of energizing per sitios, which are all located in very remote areas, some are located in islands, is about P1.5 million at a minimum.
It was learned from the NEA administrator that of the 19,740 sitios still without power supplies, about 11,000 sitios are located at the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao and in Regions 11 and 12.
Aside from being remote of these sitios, the peace and order situation in Mindanao is the other factor why these sitios remain unserved, the NEA administrator said.