Sales of electric cooperatives in the country grew 2 percent in 2020, according to the data gathered by the National Electrification Administration.
“The 2-percent increase is good enough considering the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy including the rural electrification sector,” NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said.
Data showed the ECs’ total electricity sales reached at 23,622 gigawatt-hours in 2020, up from 23,127 gWh in 2019.
Meanwhile, the ECs registered a 4-percent decline in revenues last year to P211.457 billion from P221.359 billion in 2019 because of the measures implemented by power utilities, such as extending the ‘grace periods’ for bill payments.
The ECs, as directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission, implemented payment extensions to electricity consumers to lessen the burden brought about by the pandemic.
Masongsong welcomed proposals to strengthen the role of NEA.
The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc., the umbrella association of 121 ECs nationwide, expressed support to House Bill No. 468 which aims to strengthen the NEA by converting it into the National Electrification Authority.
The bill enhances the powers of the agency and places it directly under the Office of the President and not attached to any department.
The bill, if approved, will give NEA the power to approve, grant, renew and repeal, alter or amend all franchises for distribution of electricity by electric cooperatives.
“It is a way forward for NEA from administration of a program to a regulator or national electrification as authority,” Masongsong said.
“Considering the circumstances of our country, being in the typhoon belt and the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’, we could say that the agency did not fail us at all,” said Philreca executive director and general manager Janeene Depay-Colingan.
“In fact, the agency was able to surpass its annual target energization and even breached the 14 million consumer-connections nationwide –or 14,253,053 connections, to be exact—within the franchise areas of the 121 ECs nationwide,” she said.