Full electrification achievable by end of Marcos term, DOE exec says

Energy Usec. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo

By Jennifer P. Rendon

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s commitment to the country’s full electrification could be delivered by the end of his term.

During the Philippine Economic Briefing at the Courtyard by Marriott in Iloilo City on Dec. 11, the Department of Energy (DOE) cited the passing of Republic Act No. 11646 (Microgrid Systems Act) that could hasten the government’s plan for the country’s 100 percent electrification.

“We now have the Microgrid Systems Act and we have formed the Microgrid Systems bids and awards committee. The first opening of the bids will be this Dec. 27,” Bacordo said.

The law aims to provide sustainable rural development and poverty reduction towards nation-building through energy access for all and to accelerate total electrification and ensure the provision of quality, reliable, and secure electricity service at reasonable rates in unserved and underserved areas.

Bacordo, who is a native of Iloilo City, said that they have identified the first 49 areas in November 2023.

“We have already nine interested proponents. Of these nine proponents, eight manifest their intentions to bid on all of these 49 underserved and unserved areas,” he said.

Underserved area refers to an area currently served by home power systems, microgrid systems, or distribution utilities whose supply of electricity is less than 24 hours daily because of the non-implementation of approved capital expenditure projects, noncompliance with the service parameters of the Philippine Distribution Code (PDC), or any other reason resulting to an overall failing mark based on Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)’s latest annual technical evaluation of the performance of distribution systems;

“It is only through this Microgrid Systems Act that we will meet our 100 percent electrification by the end of Pres. Marcos’s term,” Bacordo said.

He added that there are several areas in Luzon that are underserved and unserved while a bigger portion is in Visayas but most are in Mindanao.

Bacordo said that most of these areas belong to island municipalities that are not connected to the grid.

“These are franchise areas but these underserved or unserved places only host to a few families that are located far from each other.  Just imagine how much will it cost for the provider to electrify these areas that would benefit several families,” he said.

With the Microgrid Systems Act in place, there will be a facility there to cater to those who are separated from the clusters, Bacordo explained.

When asked what roles the electric cooperatives play in the government’s bid for full  electrification, Bacordo only said that “coops have their respective franchise areas but the goal is to provide a steady supply of electricity to all these constituent areas and to bring down the cost.”