DAVAO CITY, Philippines — An electric cooperative in Davao del Norte admitted that it is a challenge to serve their clients in over 600 far-flung sitios (sub-villages) due to lack of accessible roads.
“We have to admit that municipal governments create sitios every year and the roads (leading to those sitios) are the challenge here,” lawyer Jeorge Rapista, the legal counsel of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Nordeco), said in a recent press conference here.
He added a total of 635 sitios still have no power supply. These sitios are located in the interior villages of Tagum City and Island Garden City of Samal, and the municipalities of Talaingod, Kapalong, Asuncion, San Isidro, and New Corella.
The Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) targeted the same areas for the expansion of its operations. But Pres. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. vetoed House Bill 10554, which seeks to expand DLPC’s franchise in Davao del Norte. DavNor is still covered by the two franchises of Nordeco until 2028 and 2033.
“We believe that once a corporation takes over, there is a big percentage that far-flung sitios will never have access to electricity,” Rapista said.
As of June 2022, Nordeco’s energization level is at 72.57% in the entire province, while its remaining 22% will be for the areas covered by their franchise including the target two cities and municipalities of DLPC.
Rapista said aside from its location, the number of consumers per sitio is lesser compared to the consumers in the rural communities, adding in vernacular “in every kilometer that we need to install power lines, there are only 10 houses.”
Meanwhile, Jolly Ann Kuan, Nordeco ICT and Corplan Manager, said Nordeco is still working on additional electrification for at least 65 sitios this year.
They also partnered with some non-government organizations and the local government to augment the power supply for some sitios by providing solar panels as the community’s temporary power source.
“Since we don’t have existing power lines in these areas, the residents will connect to the solar panels instead of the main line. They will pay their consumption at a corresponding cost,” she said in vernacular. (davaotoday.com)