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NEA urged to help distressed power co-ops

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi yesterday called on the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to step up efforts to save power co-ops in the brink of bankruptcy amid a drive to bring electricity to the remaining unserved two million households in far-flung sitios.

According to the NEA, 10 of the 121 cooperatives under its management were “ailing” or near bankruptcy while 78 were described as having outstanding operational performance.

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“I urge NEA to exert all efforts to help these (cooperatives) by identifying which remedies are available under Republic Act 10531 and its IRR so that they can become more viable,” Cusi said, referring to the amended NEA Charter.

The energy chief was speaking to NEA officials and staff who kicked off yesterday the celebration of their 8th National Electrification Awareness Month.

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“I encourage NEA to take the initiative to reach out to these ECs, do thorough investigations on their operations and find out what has gone wrong,” he said. “In so doing, NEA can recommend to DOE policies that may be adopted to address their needs.”

Still, Cusi noted that as the Department of Energy institutionalized the concept of resiliency in the planning and construction of distribution facilities, “NEA continuously extends its financial, technical and institutional assistance to enable affected electric cooperatives to deliver electricity to their member-consumers.”

He said that given that calamities like earthquakes and typhoons were of increasing frequency and intensity lately, power cooperatives have been encouraged to develop and implement comprehensive vulnerability risk assessments to identify disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to protect their distribution facilities.

The DOE is looking at attaining 100-percent electrification of targeted and identified households by 2022.

Cusi noted that the DOE’s target of bringing electricity to 90 percent or 20.59 million out of 22.72 million households was achieved a year ahead of schedule in 2016.

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TAGS: Bankruptcy, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Electrification Administration (NEA), power co-ops
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