Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has signed a modified Executive Order (EO) 156, which provides for the transfer of ailing electric cooperatives’ (EC) operations from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to the Office of the President (OP).
The President stressed the importance of pursuing rural electrification as part of his administration’s goal of total electrification nationwide by next year and that underperforming distribution utilities (DUs) and ECs are hampering the government’s efforts.
Under Republic Act (RA) 10531 or the NEA Reform Act of 2013, the agency supposedly has the right to step-in and take over the operations of any ailing EC.
“There is a need to utilize rapid advancements in technology, which have facilitated the development of integrated systems such as microgrids, distributed energy resources, and other alternative service providers, where the nature of production, delivery, and consumption of electricity can be controlled and operated on a smaller scale suitable for unserved and unviable areas,” Duterte reasoned in the EO.
The chief executive also instructed the Department of Energy (DOE) to come up with procedures for both local governments and communities in determining whether their respective areas are inadequately served and the applicable course of action for their electrification.
The DOE is expected to submit a report to the Office of the President on the programs and timelines adopted by DUs within 60 days from the order’s effectivity.