THE NATIONAL Electrification Administration (NEA) said on Thursday that it has extended about P1 billion in loans to 28 electric cooperatives (ECs) as of yearend 2023.

The year’s total loans were lower than the NEA recorded for 2022 which was about P1.2 billion, extended to 35 ECs.

Of the latest total loans, 19 ECs had access to capital expenditure loans at P474.69 million, the NEA said in a statement.

These include ECs in Basilan, Bohol, Bukidnon, Camotes Islands, Davao del Sur, Iloilo, Laguna, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Northern Samar, Quezon Province, Siargao, Siasi, Sorsogon, South Cotabato, Surigao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, and Zamboanga del Norte.

Loans used for working capital stood at P465 million which was used by 11 ECs operating in Antique, Aurora, Batanes, Bohol, Camiguin, Central Pangasinan, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Oriental, and Zamboanga del Sur.

The NEA said that its Accounts Management and Guarantee Department (AMGD) processed an additional P27 million worth of loans in December, mostly to fund the working capital of ECs.

In AMGD’s report, about P12.85 million was lent to the Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Service Cooperative, Inc. for its modular generator and to Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. for a P50-million short-term credit facility.

“The NEA processed the aforementioned loans using the funds earmarked for its Enhanced Lending Program,” the agency said.

The AMGD said that the total loans released exceeded its 2023 target of P700 million.

The government is targeting to achieve full electrification by 2028.

Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 tasks the NEA with overseeing missionary electrification and providing financial, institutional and technical assistance to electric cooperatives.

The Department of Energy (DoE) has identified 285 unserved areas and 122 underserved areas in off-grid locations that will be prioritized for tender to private sector investments through a competitive selection process (CSP).

In the first CSP for micro grid service provider conducted in December 2023, only the Maharlika Consortium, a group of three companies, submitted complete bid proposals out of nine pre-qualified bidders.

The consortium includes Clean Power Holdings, Inc., Singapore-based CleanGrid Partners, and Singapore-based renewable energy company WEnergy Global.

The CSP covered 98 unserved and underserved areas clustered into 49 lots.

Republic Act No. 11646 or the Microgrid Systems Act mandates the DoE to conduct a CSP for potential concessionaires seeking to serve off-grid areas. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera