Published December 25, 2016, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
Power utility giant Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is targeting to ramp up household connections in marginal areas to 30,000 households on or before year-end.
That is in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) aim to reinforce and expand electricity service even to the country’s so-called depressed areas.
As of mid-December, the power distribution firm reported that it already installed connections to 26,321 households in various areas, primarily those identified by the energy department.
Among the household domains with power connections had been those of the National Housing Authority (NHA) and also the areas where Meralco has been instituting its elevated metering centers (EMCs) so it can dissuade pilferage or power connection tampering acts.
“We have included household energized under EMC projects, Balik-Liwanag Project, LGU (local government unit) projects and other areas that were not part of the DOE-identified areas,” Meralco said.
It explained further that “these are marginalized customers energized in EMC projects which we have waived the project cost,” while the LGUs financed the in-city relocation sites and those in the informal settlers communities.
The DOE-identified sites for electricity connections had been for 2,661 households – mainly at NHA, EMC areas and those covered by the Relocation and Informal Settlers (RAISE) Program.
Meralco started laying down those electrical lines and meters for household connections July 8 this year, upon the request of then newly-installed Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.
It has been part of his core goal and agenda to bring electricity access to the country’s poorest of the poor – and he had immensely engaged Meralco for that initiative.
Electricity access for marginalized areas is not just a dilemma for the Philippines, but for many countries around the world – and it is among the concerns in the “energy trilemma” that the global energy community has been trying to address.