Electric cooperatives (ECs) reported a 4% decline in revenue from power sales to P211.46 billion, even as sales volumes rose, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

In a statement Friday, the NEA said the utilities implemented extension of grace periods for bill payments, in compliance with the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) directive to ease the pandemic’s burden on consumers.

“Revenue dropped by 2% in the first quarter of 2020 due to the eruption of Taal Volcano and disruption of economic activities caused by COVID-19. The ECs suffered a double-digit decline of 12% in revenue during the second quarter; and a 4% drop during the third quarter,” the NEA said.

In the fourth quarter, EC revenue rose 1% year-on-year to P53.356 billion.

The energy department said in its Jan. 13, 2020 task force report that the Taal eruption affected five power plants, four transmission lines, and three distribution utilities serving the area.

Meanwhile, EC electricity sales volume amounted to 23,622 gigaWatt-hours in 2020, up 2%, the NEA said.

The NEA said volume sales in the second quarter declined 4% due to the government’s imposition of community quarantines to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

Volume sales in the third and fourth quarters rose 3% and 7%, respectively, as quarantine restrictions were scaled back.

Earlier this month, the NEA said that ECs had connected 522,905 new power consumers last year, beating the target set for them by 14%. The updated total of consumer connections within EC franchise areas stood at nearly 14.25 million, at the end of 2020. — Angelica Y. Yang