NEA loans to power providers hit P455M as of Aug.

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) as of end-August has lent P455.29 million to 19 electric cooperatives (ECs) for their capital expenditure (capex) projects and facility restoration works.

“Data from the NEA Accounts Management and Guarantee Department as of Aug. 31, 2021 showed that the bulk or P380.293 million of these loans went to 16 ECs to help finance their various capex projects and working capital requirements,” it said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

The loans extended to the power distribution utilities are under the agency’s “enhanced lending program.”

Of the 16, three cooperatives — Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc., Camarines Sur IV Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Quezon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. — borrowed money from the NEA to fund restoration works on facilities hit by recent typhoons, the agency separately told BusinessWorld through its Twitter account.

The power providers join three other ECs which were able to collectively secure at least P75 million in calamity loans for the repair and restoration of power facilities affected by typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses in the eight months ending August.

The agency’s enhanced lending program covers regular, calamity, concessional, and renewable energy loans, among others.

Its calamity loan has an interest rate of 3.25% per annum, and a maximum repayment term of 10 years, with a grace period of one year.

NEA, which is working towards achieving total electrification in the country, previously said it had brought power to a total of 590 rural villages or more than half of its 2021 target in the first six months of the year. In July, the agency said that majority or 326 of the newly “energized” sitios are in Mindanao.

This year, NEA has a budget of P1.63 billion under the General Appropriations Act. It has been asking for additional funds of up to P16.76 billion to be allotted over the course of five more years so it can bring power to more than 11,000 rural villages under the sitio electrification program. — Angelica Y. Yang