Informal settlers, poor benefit from Meralco project
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has switched on services in 19 of 118 marginalized areas included in its community electrification program.
The power firm said it has started delivering electricity to 13 sites in northern Metro Manila, one in the central part and four in the southern part of the metropolis. There is also another one in Batangas.
In addition, the distribution giant is currently building facilities for a total of 28 sites, including five in Batangas and 23 in Metro Manila, mostly in the northern part.
Meralco has completed the distribution system design for 70 more sites—40 in Metro Manila and 30 in Batangas—albeit it has yet to acquire the necessary right of way. One site in Batangas is still under evaluation.
Meralco estimated bringing electricity to all 118 sites, at a total cost of P267.2 million, would benefit close to 16,000 households.
The program originally identified a total of 130 sites, but 12 were removed from the program due to a slew of reasons including ongoing land disputes, pending legal issues, lack of consent from private property owners or the concerned local government, as well as an absence of homes because of demolition activities.
Meralco described its program as providing alternatives to electrification efforts “through workable socialized schemes for various community beneficiaries.
The program is intended for communities where there are informal settlers in certain public lands or private properties, the community itself is isolated, or the residents are unable to meet the minimum legal requirements for electricity connections.
Through One Meralco Foundation, the program also brings electricity to off-grid public schools in remote island and mountain villages. This part is done in partnership with local governments, nongovernment organizations, electric cooperatives, and other community institutions.
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