THE Department of Energy (DoE) said 69 areas in Negros Occidental and Palawan are now allowed to source power from qualified third parties (QTPs).

According to a public notice posted on its website Monday, which was signed by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on Feb. 24, six of these service areas are in the franchise area of Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Noceco) while 63 are handled by Palawan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Paleco).

The areas were described by the DoE as “remote, unserved and underserved” places where eligible QTPs can offer their electricity services.

A QTP is authorized by the Energy Regulatory Commission to be an alternative electric service provider in charge of providing missionary electrification services to QTP Service Areas.

Those interested in applying for QTP status must have the technical and financial capability to provide power services, and must participate in a competitive selection process, according to a department circular issued in November 2019.

A distribution utility or its subsidiary is not allowed to become a QTP for the areas it has waived, the DoE said.

In its circular, the department said that the National Power Corporation – Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG) will be responsible for providing power generation and delivery in service areas that are not taken by QTPs.

In the public notice, the DoE ordered Noceco and Paleco to prepare the bid documents and terms of reference for the competitive bidding for QTPs. The department also told the two utilities to submit the documents to the National Electrification Administration within 20 working days. — Angelica Y. Yang