New electrification chief aims to lower power rates
DAVAO CITY – The new chief of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has vowed to help President Duterte’s program of bringing development to the countryside by energizing the farthest communities and pushing for lower prices of electricity.
Edgardo Masongsong, former party-list representative for electric cooperatives who was appointed administrator of the government’s electric cooperatives regulator last Nov. 18, said Sunday his office would prioritize “bringing light to the barrios (villages) because there is a correlation between access to electricity and improved incomes.”
“Household access to electricity in rural areas is associated with a 36-percent increase in per capita income, so you can see the role electricity plays in uplifting the lives of our countrymen,” Masongsong, quoting a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), said in a statement.
In his recent visit to Central Mindanao, one of the country’s most impoverished regions, Mr. Duterte had emphasized the need to improve such areas through rural electrification.
Masongsong said one of NEA’s thrusts in his first 100 days as administrator would be the intensified implementation of the Sitio (Sub-village) Electrification Program (SEP) and Barangay Electrification Program (BEP) in coordination with electric cooperatives across the country, and the government through the Office of the President, Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The NEA chief said his office would also push for measures to reduce power rates by addressing factors that affect electricity rates, such as generation and transmission; distribution and supply costing;
governmental charges like value added tax (VAT); and subsidies to so-called life-line consumers, among others.
“As a former legislator, I believe my experience in Congress will help me work with my former colleagues so we can introduce measures that will lower power rates and make the country more attractive to investors,” said the former head of Bukidnon II Electric Cooperative Inc. (Buseco) and representative for Consumer Alliance for Rural Energy (1-Care). SFM/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.