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Meralco learns best practices from VECO
June 09, 2016
Representatives from Manila Electric Company (Meralco) flew in from Manila to learn about the Visayan Electric Company’s (VECO) implementation of the Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE).VECO, being the first private distribution utility that accepted this project, welcomed them in a visit on Friday morning at its main office in barangay Banilad in Cebu City.Eric Ching, VECO's Community Relations Department manager and one of the proponents of the company's process flow in the implementation of the NIHE to its service areas in Metro Cebu, welcomed them.NIHE aims to improve the living conditions of the Filipino households through the provision of basic electricity and to answer the government's target of 90 percent household electrification by 2017. This is a project of the Department of Energy (DOE)."We also wanted to learn the experience from VECO and how to effectively implement it," Chito Zagala, Meralco’s Utility Economics Specialist on Market Operations asst. vice president, said.VECO shared the process flow chart that indicates the step-by-step measures they undertook before implementing the project.The process involves coordination with the local government units concerned to help in the identification of sitios and households that do not have electric connection, submission of the list to DOE, submission of project proposal and signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) upon completion.Zagala said the learning visit at VECO will help them in implementing the NIHE in their service areas.VECO has already implemented the ER 1-94 or Rural Electrification project, another program in partnership with the DOE, which aims to energize communities for free by putting up poles and electricity lines to communities in far-flung areas. But even with the presence of facilities, some families still cannot afford to pay for the application of electricity.Through NIHE, the rural electrification process will be completed. NIHE will answer the metering set-up of each individual household. Normally, a standard metering set-up costs P3,750.DOE has granted P38.1 million pesos for this program last November 2015. It is expected to run for a period of three years and reach a target of 600,000 households who never had an electric connection.VECO's target number for three years, according to Ching, is 10,160.This year, 160 houses have already been identified. These are all located in barangay Lusaran and Bacayan, upland barangays in Cebu City.Ching said they are targeting 5,000 more households for 2017 and 2018."With this initiative, we will light up more sitios to empower their communities and improve their quality of life," he said.