The provincial government of Palawan called on both the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to speed up ongoing projects aimed at illuminating its remote villages and island municipalities.
Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez and Representative Gil Acosta (3rd District) personally conveyed this request to Administrator Edgardo Masongsong who paid them a courtesy call on Friday (May 19) at the provincial capitol in Puerto Princesa City.
In a statement emailed over the weekend, Masongsong said the provincial government officials asked for the completion of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) and the Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP), which the NEA has been implementing.
“[They] humbly requested DOE and NEA to fast track the electrification of the province through SEP and BLEP, including its island municipalities, barangays and sitios through renewable electrification with the use of stand-alone solar panels,” the administrator noted.
Masongsong was in Puerto Princesa City to meet with the Board of Directors (BOD) of Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) before gracing its 37th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) on Saturday (May 20).
Paleco is an AA-rated electric cooperative (EC) serving a total of 19 cities and municipalities in the province. It is currently led by its BOD chairman Jeffrey Tan-Endriga and General Manager Ric Zambales, Sr.
Latest data from the NEA showed that all 371 barangays under the coverage area of Paleco are already energized but it has yet to reach 100 percent of its estimated 215,000 potential connections.
Masongsong acknowledged the need to help Palawan fill its energy requirements as he found out that several of its barangays were waived of their Qualified Third Party (QTP) applications, rendering some 812 of its sitios unenergized.
A QTP is a DOE-sponsored mechanism under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 where interested parties can come in to provide electric service in far-off and unviable areas that the franchised distribution utility is unable to reach.
“Pero ang maganda sa Palawan, ‘yung provincial government at lahat ng mga stakeholder, they were able to come up with the so-called Palawan Island Comprehensive Power Plan,” Masongsong remarked after the flag ceremony at the NEA headquarters on Monday (May 22).
In addressing the 37th AGMA of Paleco, Masongsong assured its member-consumer-owners that the NEA remains steadfast in fulfilling its mandate to energize the countryside, in accordance with the five-point electricity agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte and the nine-point agenda of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Engr. Artis Nikki Tortola of the NEA Technical Services Department and Mr. Guillermo Paz of the NEA Consumer Development and Protection Division joined the administrator in the recently concluded trip.