5 remote communities in GenSan, SouthCot to get electricity

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/1 Feb) – Fifteen remote communities in this city and nearby municipalities of Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato are set to be energized this year through the national government’s continuing rural electrification program.

Joy Celeste Alora, information officer of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II), said Wednesday they were tapped by the state-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) to pursue the energization of 15 more sitios and puroks in the area as part of the implementation of the government’s flagship Sitio Electrification and Barangay Line Enhancement Program.

She said the target communities are located in Barangays Calumpang, Sinawal and Mabuhay here; Barangays Kalkam, Palian, Polonuling and Kablon in Tupi; and, Barangays Glamang, Rubber and Palkan in Polomolok.

“The line construction and expansion has already started and we’re targeting to complete the project within 60 days,” Alora said.

Under the program, Socoteco II extended loan grants for house wiring to the beneficiaries to facilitate their connection to the cooperative’s main grid, she said.

In this city, Alora said Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio earlier issued an executive order that provided for the guidelines for the availment of the electrification program by the target beneficiaries, who are mainly from the informal or marginalized sector in the area.

As counterpart, she said the local government agreed to help provide the required materials for the establishment of power connections for the target households.

NEA earlier earmarked some P6.27 billion for the implementation this year of the Sitio Electrification and Barangay Line Enhancement Program, which had been endorsed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III as a priority initiative.

The agency said it will use P3.70 billion of its 2012 budget while the national government signified to provide an augmentation of some P2.57 billion for the rural electrification program.

The national government had tapped local electric cooperatives as the main implementers of the program, with the Department of Energy and NEA as the supervising agencies.

Socoteco II serves this city, the seven municipalities of nearby Sarangani Province and two municipalities in the first congressional district of South Cotabato.

The cooperative’s franchise area has a current peak demand of 102 megawatts (MW) that grows at an average of 4 percent annually.

But Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, projected that the increase in the area’s total power demand would double this year due to the opening of within the first half of the year of a major shopping mall complex as well as several hotels and commercial establishments. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)