In an effort to promote energy development in the country, the National Economic and Development Authority encouraged the private sector to support the government in meeting the growing demand for energy and bringing down the cost of electricity.

During the MERALCO Planning Inputs Cascade Session last June 8, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that the role of power companies, in partnering with the government, is crucial to economic growth.

“Noting that energy security is a critical input to stimulating and sustaining socioeconomic development, the private sector can participate in the generation of additional power to meet the growing demands of the country,” Pernia said.

Chapter 19 of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 states that, despite efforts to pursue nationwide distribution of electricity, many rural and off-grid areas still have no access to stable power.

The household electrification level of the country is at 89.6 percent.

The said levels of Luzon and Visayas are at 94.8 and 92.4 percent, respectively. Mindanao, however, is still at 72.4 percent.

Pernia identified power and electrification as vital to the growth of the agriculture, fishery, and forestry sectors.

However, he said that the Philippines’ high electricity rates – among the highest in Asia – and incomplete electrification in rural areas are affecting the said sectors’ productivity.

Pernia said that power companies can participate through the Qualified Third Party (QTP) program, which is designed to attract alternative service providers and private investments in rural electrification.

“Participating in energy development projects will promote competition, increase power generation, and ultimately drive down electricity rates,” Pernia added.

He explained that this is consistent with the administration’s plan to prioritize the provision of electricity services to the remaining unelectrified off-grid, island, remote, and last-mile communities to achieve total household electrification by 2022.

Present in the planning session were MERALCO executives led by their President and CEO Oscar Reyes.

MERALCO Planning Inputs Cascade Session is an activity of One MERALCO leaders to create strategic plans as a major input to their budget plan for 2018 and business plan for 2018 to 2022.