The National Electrification Administration (NEA) on Wednesday (August 2) led the kick-off celebration of the 8th National Electrification Awareness Month (NEAM) with various activities highlighting the gains achieved through rural electrification program.
The opening ceremony of the NEAM and 48th NEA Founding Anniversary at the NEA Building in Quezon City was attended by some 754 representatives from 115 electric cooperatives (ECs) across the country.
The main highlight of the program was the ceremonial switch-on of the 12 millionth consumer connection energized under the government’s Rural Electrification Program (REP).
The 12 millionth household connection is located in Tagum City, Davao del Norte within the coverage area of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Daneco).
Also present to grace the occasion were Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Assistant Secretary Jonas Soriano from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.
In his message, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong underscored the gains of the government’s rural electrification program. “Admittedly, the Rural Electrification Program needs to be continued and sustained,” he said.
Since 1969, Masongsong said, the partnership of NEA with the ECs in pursuit of the Rural Electrification Program has come to energize 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,051 barangays and 118,632 sitios as of May 31, 2017.
This represents 83 percent of the sitios within the NEA and EC coverage areas.
NEA targets to energize 2,410 sitios this year and another 1,800 sitios in 2018, and the budget allotted by the government for the SEP is only P1.8 billion, Masongsong said.
Masongsong said from 2011 to 2016, NEA has energized 32,441 sitios. The agency is on track to energize the remaining 23,681 sitios under the SEP in the next five years, he added.
He further said NEA will need at least P23.681 billion to P25 billion from the national budget to fully energize the remaining sitios before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term in 2022.
On Wednesday, NEA also formally opened the Renewable Energy Investors Exhibit at the NEA Building. Masongsong and other NEA officials also joined the electric cooperatives in paying a courtesy visit to Congress.
NEAM is celebrated annually every month of August in recognition of the vital significance of the electrification program in nation building. This year’s celebration bears the theme “Ensuring the Gains of Rural Electrification through Enlightened Member-Consumer-Owners.”
Other activities scheduled within the month of August in support of the NEAM include the Renewable Energy Investors Conference, Electricity Forum, and Essay Writing Contest on Renewable Energy.