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ADB helps Philippine electric coops bring power to remote areas

Jan 23, 2007 - Asia Pulse Data Source

Residents in remote areas of the Philippines with limited access to electricity may see light at the end of the tunnel with new financial support from Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that target electric cooperatives.

Electric cooperatives, small distribution utilities in which all users own shares, are common in rural areas not served by larger national utilities. However, even villages with access to electricity through the cooperatives have many households that are not able to connect to the electricity because of cost or technical limitations.

The Japan Special Fund is providing a US$550,000 grant to be managed by ADB to prepare the Rural Electric Cooperatives Development Project.

The government of the Philippines, through the National Electrification Administration (NEA), is contributing US$236,000 to the project. NEA will implement the technical assistance.

"In line with its poverty reduction program, the Philippines is eyeing 100 per cent electrification of villages by 2009. But the technical and financial capability of electric cooperatives is still inadequate to ensure quality supply to consumers," said Yongping Zhai, Principal Energy Specialist of ADB's Southeast Asia Department.

The project will consolidate and strengthen the technical and financial capability of electric cooperatives in the Philippines, particularly those that are not viable, to enable them to provide efficient, adequate and reliable service at reasonable rates.

At the end of 2006, about 95 per cent of the 36,030 villages in the Philippines had access to electricity. Those without access are mostly located in isolated areas.

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