NEA Media Release

PCL chief wants more cooperatives to operate public utilities


SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur - An official from the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) has recently called for the protection and establishment of more cooperatives to turn the tide on the state of public utilities in the country. PCL chairman and Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said people should rally behind service-oriented utilities like the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Aselco) instead of the well-heeled corporations dominating the industry. “You must not let our electricity services be turned over to the rich (companies),” Dayanghirang told the stakeholders of Aselco during their 36th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Saturday (May 19). "Public utilities like water and power systems are better left with cooperatives, not profit-driven companies," he said, echoing the same principles espoused by the National Electrification Administration (NEA). Speaking on behalf of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was unable to deliver her keynote speech due to prior engagements, Dayanghirang recognized the valuable contributions of electric cooperatives (ECs) to the growth of Mindanao. “I would like to commend the people behind Aselco for giving their time and talents in the service of their consumers and the development of Agusan del Sur,” the councilor said quoting the prepared statement of Duterte-Carpio. Led by its general manager Engr. Emmanuel Galarse and board president Corazon Cullantes, Aselco operates in 13 municipalities, one city and 314 barangays of Agusan del Sur or 46 percent of the Caraga region. “We aspire (for) you to continue in partnership with (NEA Administrator Edgardo) Masongsong to deliver positive changes in our communities. As your fellow Mindanaoan, I am glad as to how far you have come,” Dayanghirang added. Masongsong, who also graced the event for an inspirational talk, welcomed these encouraging words. In his remarks, the NEA chief stressed the importance of keeping the ECs alive as their business operations are generally rooted in public service. “Councilor Dayanghirang was right when he called for the protection of our electric cooperatives. Because if we allow the big companies to operate and control our (power) distribution system, electricity prices will certainly increase,” the administrator said in his remarks. Masongsong noted that when the Mindanao power crisis struck in recent years, Aselco managed to keep its electricity rates below P10 per kilowatt hour. Despite this, it was able to sustain its good financial standing. With an average systems loss at 7.78 percent and a 98.68 percent collection efficiency, Aselco is considered as one of the top-performing ECs in the country, making it worthy of the AAA rating it consistently receives from the NEA. As of December 2017, the lone power service provider in Agusan del Sur has connected a total of 149,579 households. It has 123,512 member-consumer-owners to date; 38,828 of whom participated in the recently concluded AGMA. ###

MisOr gov backs NEA chief in defending EC franchises


LAGUINDINGAN, Misamis Oriental—Electric cooperatives (ECs) found an ally in Misamis Oriental governor Bambi Emano who publicly stated Friday (May 18) that he would rather lean on them to power up communities in his province than the private investor-owned utilities. This is consistent with the position of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), which for years has been asking for reforms in state laws and policies that place ECs at a competitive disadvantage against extremely rich power firms. Emano declared his support in the presence of NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong himself during the 50th founding anniversary and 48th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of the Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Service Cooperative, Inc. (Moresco-1). In his speech, the governor recognized the crucial role of the agency, which implements the state-funded rural electrification program through its partnership with 121 ECs nationwide in pursuit of sustainable countryside development. “The NEA is the one squaring up against big corporations who are out to challenge the franchises of electric cooperatives… Without it, profit-driven capitalists can easily grab the market away from electric cooperatives like Moresco-1,” Emano said in Cebuano. Emano, however, believes that most private firms are going to be selective in energizing communities. “You cannot expect them to light up barangays that do not have plants or factories. They are only interested in areas that already have existing developments,” he said. Consequently, the provincial leader said he is happy to know that the current NEA administrator, who also hails from Mindanao, shares the same perspective. Masongsong is an ardent supporter of cooperative enterprises long before he was appointed to the agency. The fact that Moresco-1, the first ever EC in the country, has grown to accomplish 100 percent energization of all cities, municipalities and barangays under its coverage area is a testament to the success of the rural electrification program of the government. In his keynote address to honor its 50th founding anniversary, Masongsong touted the excellent performance of Moresco-1, noting its very low systems loss average (2.61 percent) and high collection efficiency (100 percent) in 2017. The NEA chief hopes these achievements will continue under the command of Engr. Jovel Ubayubay, the newly-confirmed general manager of Moresco-1, whose leadership is respected by Emano as well. The award-winning co-op currently has 92,058 household connections, serving 83,699 consumers in parts of Misamis Oriental and Talakag in Bukidnon. It aims to position itself as the best power service provider not only in the country but the entire Asia. Electricity demand under the Moresco-1 franchise is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years as Laguindingan Mayor Diosdado Obsioma also announced that real estate giant Ayala Land, Inc. is pushing through with its development of an industrial hub in their municipality. Edna Putian-Diango, the Institutional Services Department (ISD) manager of Moresco-1, said this would entail additional 40 megawatts in their energy requirement at the very least thus they are working double time to improve their facilities. Currently, Moresco-1 has seven long-term capital expenditure projects in the pipeline including a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, construction of N-1 69 kV subtransmission line, and substation upgrades, among others. ###

NEA initiates bold STEP towards electrifying 2.4-M households


Racing against time with limited resources at its disposal, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) tweaked its action plans to illuminate roughly 2.4 million homes that remain in the dark under the franchise areas of electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide. The state-owned corporation presented on Wednesday (May 16) its Strategized Total Electrification Program (STEP), which was tailored to meet the 100 percent household energization target of the Department of Energy (DOE) by 2020. Incorporated in this latest initiative is a petition seeking government assistance to grant all service-oriented distribution utilities access to funds generated by the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME). The proposed measure aims to provide ECs, which are non-stock and non-profit by nature, enough wherewithal to develop energization projects and sustain their operations in far-flung and economically unviable areas. In case this request is denied, a private sector participation can be entertained through possible amendments to the Qualified Third Party (QTP) mechanism of the DOE, according to NEA Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Artis Nikki Tortola. “Kung hindi kaya ng EC na maka-draw ng UCME, baka pwedeng maghanap tayo ng partner on a certain area and then we create a joint venture on that location to serve that area,” Tortola said in a recent dialogue with some 223 power co-op officials. The NEA will also ask the DOE to expand the scope of its Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE) program, hoping it can include the extension of secondary lines to distant houses, instead of cutting it short. Likewise, the state-run agency will push for the streamlining and simplification of administrative requirements and processes with respect to permits and other clearances that need to be secured before any electrification related projects can proceed. The NEA, moreover, vowed to facilitate the implementation of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology to determine which type of renewable energy resources are suitable to power up specific unenergized areas. “We also consider the option of bringing the households to the last tapping pole rather than construct to each and every far-flung household. Kung pwede, it should be part of the local government program na ilapit na ‘yung mga tao sa distribution system,” Tortola added. Essentially, STEP is a holistic approach combining the merits of sitio energization, barangay line enhancement and household electrification programs of the government under a unified strategy to achieve the total electrification goal. At its core, subsidies to EC undertakings, including future solar home and micro-grid systems to be put up in far-flung and off-grid communities will still continue should they remain largely ignored by the private sector. “The total electrification will not be a program in coordination with the ECs alone. It will be a composite program together with the private distribution utilities kasi kasama na sila sa mandate na dapat ma-energize lahat by 2022,” Tortola said. In view of these developments, Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said he expects all ECs to submit their updated comprehensive master plans to the NEA by May 21. These will be consolidated and forwarded to the DOE for its consideration on May 30 before it finalizes the unified strategy on total electrification that will be presented to both Houses of Congress for budget deliberation. To date, the NEA through its partnership with 121 ECs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao has energized more than 12 million households. About 19,740 sitios, however, are still left without electricity connection. Most of which are identified in hostile areas. On the average, electrifying a sitio costs at least P1.4-million, so the agency will need at least P25-billion to fully implement the rural electrification program before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from Malacañang. ###

Power coops get P830M worth of loans from NEA for electrification projects


State-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) has extended P830-million worth of loans to 34 electric cooperatives (ECs) over the period January to April this year to finance, among others, their rural electrification projects. Of the total amount, P42 million was released as calamity loans to three ECs for the rehabilitation of damaged power distribution lines caused by Typhoons Urduja and Vinta. Calamity loan has a 10-year repayment term with a maximum grace period of one year. The interest is at 3.25 percent per annum. A total of P396 million were borrowed by 24 ECs to fund their capital expenditure projects aimed at further improving the quality and reliability of electric service to the communities they serve. Meanwhile, the Quezon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Quezelco I) borrowed P20 million to finance its monthly shortfall on the settlement of power accounts with generation companies and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). The Zamboanga Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco), on the other hand, availed of the stand-by credit loan facility for power accounts amounting to P145-million to strengthen its creditworthiness with generation companies. Also, a total of P74-million worth of loans were granted to three power coops in Mindanao namely Misamis Oriental II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Moresco II), Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Sukelco), and Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Aneco) for the procurement of modular generator set. Moreover, five ECs secured working capital loans amounting to P153 million. These coops are the Moresco II, Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco), Sorsogon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Soreco I), Camotes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Celco), and Negros Oriental I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Noreco I). "NEA will continue to provide financial support to the ECs in the form of short, medium and long term loans for them to become competitive and competent in the EPIRA environment," Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said. ###

NEA sets up task force to monitor power situation on May 14 elections


To ensure electric service reliability in the coming elections, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has ordered the creation of a task force that will monitor the power situation in areas covered by electric cooperatives across the country. Administrator Edgardo Masongsong issued Office Order No. 2018-099 dated April 30, establishing "NEA Power Task Force Election (NPTFE) 2018." The task force's objective is to monitor the ECs' electric service before, during and after the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14. The task force is composed of the NEA Engineering Department, Corporate Communications and Social Marketing Office (CCSMO), Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD), and Human Resources and Administration Department (HRAD). NEA Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Engr. Artis Nikki Tortola is designated as the oversight authority while Engineering Department manager Engr. Ferdinand Villareal is assigned to lead the task force. "The NPTFE 2018 shall render 24/7 operation to help ensure the electric cooperatives' electric service are adequate and reliable in their respective coverage areas before, during and immediately after the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election," Masongsong said. The Engineering Department is tasked in monitoring the power situation of ECs and in coordinating with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Power Corporation, while the CCSMO is in charge in disseminating the power situation reports to all concerned external parties. Meanwhile, the ITCSD's function is to set-up and provide the necessary communication requirements to be used by the Engineering team at the NEA Command Center. The HRAD, on the other hand, is responsible in providing services, such as vehicle, back-up power, repair, among others. The NEA, a government-owned and controlled corporation, has the supervisory powers over 121 ECs across the country, including those registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), as mandated under Republic Act 10531, otherwise known as the "National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013." ###



A number of communities situated in far-flung and remote parts of Mindanao where expansion of electricity grid facilities is extremely challenging will soon no longer have to live in darkness, thanks to solar home systems (SHS). The National Electrification Administration (NEA) disclosed the installation of a Photovoltaic Mainstreaming system for 5,000 households within the coverage areas of Cotabato Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Cotelco) and South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco II) is on course for completion at the end of June this year. Engr. Ernesto Silvano, Jr., who heads the Office of Renewable Energy and Development (ORED) at the NEA, said another 5,000 SHS units are scheduled for delivery and installation starting next month for the chosen households within the franchise areas of Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Dasureco) and Sultan Kuldarat Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Sukelco). The PV Mainstreaming is an initiative of the Department of Energy (DOE), funded by the European Union - Access to Sustainable Energy Program (EU-ASEP) through World Bank. The NEA, which has supervision over all the electric cooperatives across the country, is the implementing agency. The project is divided into two bidding windows. Window 1 involves 10,000 SHS units while Window 2 involves 30,500 SHS, the procurement process of which is undergoing finalization. Engr. Silvano said SHS is a viable option for dispersed households located in rural and remote areas that are too far or no access to the electricity grid. "For dispersed households that cannot be connected to the grid, this is the option. This is in line with the NEA's Strategized Household Electrification Program (SHEP), which is concentrated on off-grid," he said. ORED initiated SHEP three years ago but the program only took off during the leadership of NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong through grant aids. Electrification data show there are 19,740 sitios across the country that are still without access to electricity with 1,702 identified as "off-grid," which are found mainly in Mindanao with 1,003, followed by Visayas with 557, and Luzon with 142. To electrify these off-grid areas, the NEA is undertaking two options: one is through SHEP and the other is through Strategized Sitio Electrification Program (SSEP), which targets clustered households that cannot be energized by either sitio electrification or barangay line enhancement programs. These are part of the NEA's wider strategy to accelerate the attainment of total electrification of the country within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The Rural Electrification Program, since its inception in 1969, has energized 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,051 barangays, and 121,513 sitios, benefiting 12.280 million households or nearly 60 million Filipinos as of February 2018. ###



The National Electrification Administration (NEA) expressed confidence that the full implementation of an executive order (EO), which hopes to curb red tape on crucial energy projects, will encourage more electric cooperatives (ECs) to venture into power generation. Administrator Edgardo Masongsong made the statement Tuesday after Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on EO 30 has been released. Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year, EO 30 was meant to streamline all regulatory procedures affecting Energy Projects of National Significance (EPNS) through the creation of an Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC). With the IRR in place, Cusi said stakeholders can now expect prompt delivery of basic energy services. Masongsong welcomed this development, especially since a great deal of non-profit distribution utilities have many new projects at hand that are only waiting to be approved. “With the 121 electric cooperatives having several embedded projects, this policy on the fast-tracking of energy-related projects would not only improve the lives of people in the rural areas, but would also introduce potential livelihood programs for them,” the NEA chief said. “Hopefully, the EO 30 through the EICC would likewise be supportive of electric cooperatives that wanted to construct and operate their own embedded generation facilities. I believe this could serve as a good avenue to reduce the costs of electricity in the country,” he added. Masongsong further mentioned that the early approval and resolution of energy-related projects will help cut “predevelopment costs” on the part of generation companies, which, in turn, scales down the rates of power supply to be contracted. In a statement released to the media by the Department of Energy (DOE), Cusi said the IRR marks the end of slow-moving energy projects that are impeding the economic development of our nation because of rigid regulatory processes. The DOE issued the official guidelines on the implemention of EO 30 last April 25 through Department Circular No. DC2018-04-0013. It was published in newspapers of general circulation on May 4, 2018 and is already taking effect. Under the IRR, the processing of permits and licenses shall be done within a maximum period of 30 days for projects declared as EPNS. This starts from the date of submission of the complete documentary requirements to the relevant government agencies. ###

More households in Tablas Island, Romblon assured of 'bright' future


Residents of the six unenergized sitios in the three municipalities of Tablas Island in the province of Romblon will not have to wait for years as electricity may come to them sooner than later. No less than Administrator Edgardo Masongsong of the state-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) gave the assurance to include these areas to the sitios targeted for energization this year. Data show there are six sitios that still have no electricity within the franchise area of the Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Tielco). These sitios are found in the municipalities of Odiongan, Looc, and Calatrava. "Bakit pa natin hihintayin ang 2020, dapat 'yung anim na 'yan pailawan na natin sa 2018, ngayong taon na ito. We will do our best. I will see to it that the remaining six sitios will be energized this year," said Masongsong. From 2011 to 2016, the NEA allocated P180.768 million to enable Tielco to energize 239 sitios under the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP), which benefitted 6,080 households. Masongsong was the keynote speaker at the Rural Electrification Leaders' Convergence organized by Tielco on April 22 held at the Virginia Centurione Bracelli School Auditorium in Odiongan, Romblon. Anchored on the theme "Reinforcing Member-Consumer-Owner's Involvement in Countryside Development thru Rural Electrification," the activity brought together some 2,000 participants, mostly officers of Barangay Power Association (BAPA) and MCO organizations. Masongsong, in his message, spoke about the importance of the active involvement of all the MCOs in the affairs of their electric cooperative, especially given their central role in promoting and protecting the gains of rural electrification. "You have two roles. As member-consumer, you are a customer at the same time you are also an owner of the electric cooperative. So you have to mobilize into a strong movement to protect it," the NEA chief told participants. Masongsong also siezed the opportunity to apprise them of the present status of rural electrification in the country, and the efforts of the agency, together with the ECs nationwide, to energize the far-flung communities. The Rural Electrification Program, since its inception, has lit up 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,051 barangays, and 121,324 sitios, benefitting 12.186 million households or about 60 million Filipinos as of December 2017. Formed in 1988, the BAPA in Tielco is credited for being instrumental in reducing the systems loss of the electric cooperative and improving its collection efficiency. As of February 2018, Tielco posted a 99.48-percent collection efficiency and 7.89-percent system loss. ### NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong speaks at the Rural Electrification Leaders' Convergence organized by the Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Tielco) on April 22, 2018 at the Virginia Centurione Bracelli School in Odiongan, Romblon.

NEA rehab team of Abreco achieves another milestone


More than two months after the National Electrification Administration (NEA) exercised its step-in rights over Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco), the ailing power distribution utility has undergone many significant changes to enhance its operational efficiency. Abreco Acting General Manager Charito Mabitazan recently submitted a report detailing the accomplishments and reforms the Task Force Duterte Abra Power and the NEA management team have made during the first two months of their rehabilitation efforts. Mabitazan said Abreco's power bills to Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) amounting to P27.5 million and P7.6 million, respectively, for the month of March were already paid. The official explained that the P7-million increase in power bills was due to hike in WESM (wholesale electricity spot market) rate. During their Board meeting on April 23, NEA Deputy Administrator Atty. Goldelio Rivera, who is also the chairman of the Task Force, said various reforms were discussed including improvement of the billing and collection system, and procurement of power supply under a bilateral contract with a power supplier or under an aggregation with other electric cooperatives. The new management also instituted financial, institutional and technical reforms, such as organizational downsizing, implementation of an effective collection strategy, creation of the Multi-Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC) in nine districts of Abreco, formulation of a 100-Day Strategic Development Plan, and submission of a proposed organizational structure of the co-op. "Once everything is in place, we will recommend for the conduct of district elections and turn over the management and operations to Abrenians, who are the true owners of Abreco," Deputy Administrator Rivera said. On February 9, the NEA was constrained to take over the operations and management of Abreco due to significant adverse audit findings, and notices of default and suspension issued by PEMC which stemmed from the co-op's non-payment of power bills amounting to over P200 million. Among the adverse audit findings were overcharging of generation rates amounting to P128 million from July 2015 to October 2016 alone; non-submission of pertinent documents on the utilization of subsidy funds; non-observance of procurement procedures; questionable transactions including the reconditioning, testing and commissioning of 5MVA Substation; purchases from favored suppliers; irregular disbursements for EC vehicles; irregular payments of benefits, per diems and allowances; and borrowing money from various resources at usurious interest rates ranging from 6 percent to 8 percent a month. To recall, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong issued Office Order No. 2017-168 in September last year creating the Task Force Duterte Abra Power to rehabilitate Abreco. The order was pursuant to Section 5 (a) Chapter II and Sections 4-A and B of Presidential Decree No. 269, as amended by Republic Act No. 10531. ###



National Electrification Administration (NEA) chief Edgardo Masongsong recently led the groundbreaking of a 900-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine power plant in Romblon, Romblon, which is seen to contribute significantly to the growing energy needs of the island. The wind turbine farm is a joint venture between the Romblon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Romelco) and Japanese firm Komaihaltec, Inc. with assistance from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. The P242-million project is expected to be completed this November. In his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony held on April 22, Masongsong commended Romelco, under the leadership of General Manager Rene Fajilagutan and Board of Directors headed by president Diogenes Hilario Magallon, for continuing to lead by example in renewable energy (RE) projects. The NEA chief described Romelco as a "trendsetter" for electric cooperatives in terms of RE development, citing the bold steps the power distribution utility has taken to achieve the target it has ambitiously set for itself. Romelco aims to increase the percentage of its indigenous sources of power from the current 45 percent to 90 percent by 2020. "It's a very tall order envisioning a 90 percent source of power from renewables for Romblon. This is actually protecting the environment by minimizing Romelco's carbon footprint at the same time maximizing the benefits from indigenous sources of energy. This is something that electric cooperatives must emulate," Masongsong said. The project is comprised of three wind turbines located in Barangays Bagacay, Lonos and Agnay in the Municipality of Romblon. Each wind turbine has a power generating capacity of 300 kW, totaling 900 kW. Masongsong said there are more benefits from the project besides providing a low-cost and reliable electricity and contributing to the energy requirements of the island. This venture also brings environmental and economic benefits to the province, he said. Romblon Mayor Mariano Mateo agreed, saying that the future looks bright for the province as the wind turbine project will not only address the increasing power consumption of thousands of their residents but it will also attract tourists. Meanwhile, Fajilagutan said 50 percent of the total cost of the project is funded through a grant from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan while the other half is shouldered by Japanese wind turbine manufacturer, Komaihaltec. Once up and running, the Romelco executive said the wind turbines will be leased to them for four years at P6.19 per kilowatt hour (kWh) without value added taxes. "It will be based on the actual production, actual output of the wind turbine generator. No fixed amount per month. After four years, the power plant will be turned over to Romelco," Fajilagutan said. The wind project is among the many initiatives of Romelco aimed at contributing to the sustainable development of the province while helping curb the effects of climate change. Its other RE projects include a two-megawatt (2 MW) biomass power plant and three more units of mini-hydro power plants. Romelco recently acquired a 2.5 MW diesel power plant as initial support to the wind farm. On top of these, it also has 30-kW solar diesel hybrid generation system, which provides 24/7 electricity to some 900 households on Cobrador Island; and 1,350-kW mini hydro power plant in Cantingas, San Fernando, Sibuyan Island. Masongsong spent his weekend visiting Romblon to keynote the 26th Annual General Membership Assembly of Romelco on April 21 held in Magdiwang, Sibuyan Island, which drew some 1,233 member-consumer-owners (MCOs) in attendance. A triple-A rated EC, Romelco is one of the distributors of electricity in the province of Romblon. Included in its franchise are the municipalities of Romblon, San Fernando, Cajidiocan, Magdiwang, Banton, and Corcuera. ###