By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN, Contributing Editor
SAN Francisco, Agusan del Sur—At least 11, 550 households in the far-flung areas of this province will finally enjoy the benefits of electricity in their homes after many years of deprivation.
Lighting up the homes in the hinterland communities was made possible after Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative (ASELCO) received some P43.3 million budget allocation from the Department of Energy to implement the National Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE) program.
NIHE is a government initiated program under the Department of Energy (DOE) in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) geared towards providing basic electricity services to the remaining 450,000.00 poor households in 46 selected provinces which are still unable to be access on-grid electricity. In line with the 2014-2017 Household Electrification Development Plan (HEDP), the program is expected to achieve 90 percent household electrification by 2017.
Engineer Emmanuel Galarse, ASELCO general manager, said many poor households in remote villages which have been deprived of electricity throughout their lives are the targets of the NIHE program of which the beneficiary electric cooperatives signed an agreement with DOE in Manila last month.
“Finally, the management can now commence with the intensification of electrification in the province. This has been a project long-awaited not only by us but also by the Agusanons,” Galarse said.
ASELCO, being one of the first six implementing electric cooperatives nationwide is set to continue electrification in areas benefited by the implementation of Sitio Electrification Project (SEP) and Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP) which have previously allowed 60 household recipients to be energized.
The approval of the project came timely for ASELCO since only few more distant areas in its franchise area are on the process of being energized. “Now, we will go back to the places we have previously energized and if possible, continue energizing the households which are not yet connected to the grid,” said ASELCO board president Corazon Cullantes said.
Last year, ASELCO started with an information-dissemination in cooperation with local government units by informing the public on the requirements for application to qualify as recipients of the project. Verification and Validation of the submitted applications were done to catch up with the deadline of submission last December 2016.
ASELCO will start its full-scale implementation of NIHE on the third quarter of this year.
The agreement signing were attended by officials from various key offices of power industry including DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi together with Undersecretary, Wimpy Fuentebella, Director Mylene Capongcol of DOE’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB); Deputy Administrator Sonia San Diego, Director Ferdinand Villareal, ATEO-OIC Henrietta A. Maramot from the National Electrification Administration (NEA), and; general managers and board presidents from Zambales, Northern Samar, Surigao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Agusan del Sur.
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