NEA: Loans to power co-ops reach P440 million in 2020

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) disbursed P440-million worth of loans, including calamity loans, to 20 electric cooperatives (ECs) last year. Data from the NEA Accounts Management and Guarantee Department (AMGD) showed that the total loans extended to ECs from January to December 2020 reached P439.983 million. Bulk of which, or P311.903 million, went to 12 ECs to help fund their capital expenditure (CapEx) projects and working capital requirements. The P311.903 million translates into 127-percent accomplishment rate of the agency. The NEA set a 2020 target of P245 million for lending to ECs for their electrification projects. Among the ECs that received these loans were Cagayan II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CAGELCO II), Camarines Sur I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO I), Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO III), Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DANECO), Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MASELCO), Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Service Cooperative, Inc. (MORESCO I), Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (OMECO), Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO I), Sulu Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SULECO), Surigao del Sur I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SURSECO I), Ticao Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TISELCO), and Quezon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (QUEZELCO I). Meanwhile, the NEA extended P128.080 million in calamity loans to 13 ECs. The ECs that availed of the calamity loans were CASURECO III, MASELCO, OMECO, SORECO I, SORECO II, TISELCO, Iloilo III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ILECO III), Lubang Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LUBELCO), Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MARELCO), Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORSAMELCO), Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO), Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TIELCO), and First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO). Of the total calamity loans released by the NEA to ECs, P25 million went to FICELCO for the repair and rehabilitation of its damaged power distribution facilities due to the onslaught of recent typhoons Quinta and Rolly. The calamity loan, which bears an interest rate of 3.25 percent per annum, has a 10-year repayment term and one-year grace period. ###

NEA welcomes funding boost for rural electrification program in 2021

State-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) welcomed the increase in funding for the implementation of the government's rural electrification program for this year. Under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2021, the NEA was allocated PhP2.498 billion for the rural electrification program. This amount is PhP670 million higher than the PhP1.828 billion recommended under the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP). "We are pleased to receive this additional allocation of P670 million to support the government's rural electrification program, especially the emergency funds for the electric cooperatives (ECs) during calamities," NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said. The PhP2.498 billion is broken down as follows: PhP1.628 billion for the sitio electrification projects (SEP); PhP750 million for the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF); PhP100 million for the installation of solar panels in schools in Lipa City, Batangas; and PhP20 million for the installation of solar panels in public schools. In the implementation of SEP, a special provision in the GAA states that the NEA shall "prioritize sitios where absolute number of indigents and the incidence of poverty are high as identified in the latest official poverty statistics of PSA as well as those with the high probability of being energized." The NEA shall also release funds only to ECs which have fully liquidated funds from previous years' electrification projects. In cases where the ECs are not qualified to implement projects for barangay and sitio electrification, the NEA "may enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the latter through its district engineering offices will implement the project." The release of SEP fund shall also be subject to the following: submission of National Unified Electrification Strategy as certified by the Department of Energy (DOE); submission of parameters for the selection of beneficiary sitios as certified by the DOE; and submission of a certification from the Barangay chairperson on the population and number of houses per sitio, map of the municipality or city indicating the sitios and barangays to be energized, and cost of energizing a sitio. Under the 2021 NEP, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recommended PhP1.828 billion subsidy for the implementation of the rural electrification program, with PhP1.628 billion for SEP and PhP200 million for ECERF pursuant to Republic Act No. 11039, also known as the ECERF Act. The ECERF Law, enacted in June 2018, seeks an orderly and continuing means of financial assistance to ECs in the form of grants for the immediate restoration or rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure after a fortuitous event or force majeure.

NEA: Power restored to most areas hit by Tropical Depression Vicky

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) on Tuesday said work continues to restore electricity to the remaining areas serviced by three electric cooperatives (ECs) affected by the onslaught of Tropical Depression Vicky. Based on the monitoring report of the NEA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (DRRMD) as of Monday (December 21), power has been fully restored in many areas in the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, and Cagayan, days after Tropical Depression Vicky hit the country. In Surigao del Sur, the Surigao del Sur I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SURSECO I) reported that power in the municipalities of Hinatuan and Barobo had been fully restored; while Bislig City, and the towns of Lingig and Tagbina were partially restored. In the province of Agusan del Sur, the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ASELCO) has completely restored power distribution services in Bayugan City, Esperanza, La Paz, Loreto, Prosperidad, Rosario, San Francisco, San Luis, Santa Josefa, Sibagat, Talacogon, Trento, and Veruela; and partially restored in Bunawan. Meanwhile, in Cagayan, the Cagayan I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CAGELCO I) reported that it has fully restored electricity in Baggao, Piat, Rizal, Santo Niño, Iguig, Peñablanca and Tuao; and partially restored in Tuguegarao City, and the towns of Alcala, Amulung, Enrile, and Solana. The NEA DRRMD report also showed that SURSECO I suffered P1.524 million worth of damage due to the weather disturbance. Tropical Depression Vicky, the 22nd tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the first for December, left the Philippine area of responsibility on Sunday (December 20), according to state weather bureau PAGASA. ###

85 electric co-ops get highest rating in 2019 performance assessment

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) announced that 85 out of 121 electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country earned the highest rating of AAA in the 2019 EC Overall Performance Assessment. Of the 85 ECs that obtained the AAA rating, 30 ECs garnered a score of 100 points in all the performance parameters. All ECs in Regions I (Ilocos Region), VI (Western Visayas), VIII (Eastern Visayas), and Caraga notched the AAA status, maintaining their excellent performance. Results of the 2019 overall performance assessment also showed that 85 percent or 103 ECs were evaluated by the NEA as either AAA, AA, or A status. At least 11 ECs improved in their scores in all performance levels. The ECs that showed improvement in ratings included Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LANECO), Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO I), Pampanga III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PELCO III), Nueva Vizcaya Electric Cooperative (NUVELCO), Misamis Occidental I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MOELCI I), Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO III), Quezon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (QUEZELCO I), Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (OMECO), Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DANECO), Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO), and Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO). Meanwhile, among the seven remaining 'ailing' ECs, ABRECO progressed from Category D to C, while Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MASELCO) and Sulu Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SULECO) maintained their Category C status. The other four, namely Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ALECO), Basilan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BASELCO), Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO), and Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TAWELCO), remained as Category D power co-ops. NEA evaluates and determines the overall performance ratings of all ECs annually. In 2019, the state-run agency amended the guidelines on the EC Overall Performance Assessment. The new set of parameters are the following: financial (25 points), institutional (30 points), technical (20 points), level of electrification (20 points), and reportorial compliance (5 points). The AAA rating is the highest score given by the NEA to ECs that indicates the power distribution utilities' full compliance on all parameters. The D rating is the lowest. NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong welcomed the results of last year's EC Overall Performance Assessment, while he congratulated those power co-ops that attained AAA rating. "ECs that need further improvements in the overall performance should reassess their financial, institutional, and technical operations; implement more aggressive strategies and activities, and closely monitor their progress to address major issues and concerns," Masongsong said. On the Size Classification of ECs, the number of Mega Large ECs increased from 66 to 72 while the number of Extra Large ECs decreased from 32 to 26. The number of ECs classified as Large remained at 17. At least two ECs were classified as Medium and four ECs as Small. Further, 6 ECs expanded their power market coverage resulting in the improvement of their size classification from Extra Large to Mega Large, namely Zambales II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO II), OMECO, SORECO I, Iloilo III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ILECO III), Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ESAMELCO), and Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MAGELCO). The results of the 2019 EC Overall Performance Assessment and Size Classification will serve as the basis for the adjustments of salaries, benefits, allowances and incentives of EC officials and employees. ###

NEA commended for prompt action on citizens' complaints

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) was commended by the Office of the President for acting promptly on the citizens' concerns and complaints lodged through the government's 8888 Citizens' Complaint Center. In a letter addressed to NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center (CCC) Director Bernadette Casinabe recognized the agency's efforts in ensuring that the citizens' concerns and complaints are acted upon in a timely manner. From January to October 2020, the 8888 CCC referred 389 complaints or tickets to the NEA for immediate action. Of this number, 389 tickets were acted upon or equivalent to 100 percent resolution rate, said Casinabe. "We would like to commend your efforts in ensuring that all tickets are acted upon within the prescribed period," Casinabe said in a letter dated November 23, 2020. NEA Deputy Administrator for Electric Cooperatives Management Services (ECMS) Atty. Vicar Loureen Lofranco thanked the Office of the President for the commendation. Lofranco also recognized the efforts of the Consumer Development and Protection Division (CDPD) under the Institutional Development Department of the NEA. The CDPD is tasked to receive the complaints and refers these to the concerned electric cooperatives for them to address the same and/or to coordinate directly with the complainant so that they may be enlightened on the issue raised thereby precluding further complaints. The NEA deputy administrator also thanked the partner electric cooperatives (ECs) for responding promptly and proactively on the consumer complaints that were coursed through the 8888 CCC. The ECs serve as the implementing arm of the NEA in the Rural Electrification Program of the government. “On behalf of the NEA, we appreciate the preferential attention that the ECs give on the matter of complaints coursed through our office, particularly from the member-consumer-owners (MCOs) in their respective franchise areas; and, we gratefully acknowledge the efforts made by the concerned ECs in identifying measures/specific course of action for its immediate resolution. This kind of effort demonstrates the electric co-op’s earnest intention to further improve its service delivery to ably serve and protect the best interest of its electricity consumers and build better relationships with its partner MCOs,” Lofranco remarked. According to the NEA CDPD, most of the complaints received or endorsed to the agency pertain to the delivery of EC services or operations, particularly on power interruptions (45 percent), billing issues/concerns (30 percent), electric service disconnections/reconnections (15 percent), and others (10 percent). Introduced in 2016, the 8888 CCC serves as a mechanism where citizens may report their complaints and grievances regarding government services. Pursuant to the minimum operating standards of the 8888 CCC, the citizen's concern shall immediately be referred to the concerned government agency for appropriate action, which shall have a concrete and specific action within 72 hours from receipt of the concern. Failure of the government agency to respond in a timely manner will be considered grounds for administrative sanctions. In a related development, the NEA was also awarded second runner-up in the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) category at the 2020 Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards in recognition of the agency's significant contribution to the FOI program's progress and development. In accepting the award during the 2020 FOI Awards ceremony held virtually on November 25, NEA Deputy Administrator for Legal Services Atty. Rossan Rosero-Lee thanked the FOI Philippines for the recognition, and assured that the agency will remain a steadfast partner of the Executive Branch in the advocacy of protecting the people's right to information.