LandBank, NEA to fund electric co-ops

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GOVERNMENT-OWNED Land Bank of the Philippines will provide financing assistance to electric cooperatives (ECs) and wholesale power aggregators in support of the government’s electrification program.

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In a statement on Monday, LandBank said it is partnering with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to identify electric cooperative projects that will qualify for capability building or financing assistance.

It said the loan requirements of ECs will be co-financed by NEA from its own funds and LandBank through its credit program dubbed as BRinging Inclusive Growth in every Household through National Electrification Support Services (BRIGHTNESS).

The BRIGHTNESS program aims to encourage the use of renewable energy and support developmental projects of rural cooperatives that could, in turn, help lower electricity rates.

Projects qualified for financing include the construction, upgrading or rehabilitation of the EC’s power generation and/or distribution system, construction of power generation plants, acquisition, rehabilitation and upgrading of National Transmission Corp. sub-transmission assets; purchase of capital equipment; and working capital of ECs, among others.

Eligible borrowers under the BRIGHTNESS credit program include ECs that are duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority or NEA, the bank said.

The program is also open to joint ventures or consortiums between ECs and players in the electric power generation, transmission, distribution and supply sectors.

LandBank president and chief executive officer Gilda Pico said, “This partnership will allow us to further intensify support to the utilities sector, especially the power industry, which is in need of a boost in light of challenges that the industry continues to face,” she said.

According to NEA data, as of December 2012, the country’s household electrification level was at 76.7 percent while the barangay electrification level stood at 71 percent.

The government, through NEA, aims to energize 90 percent of households by 2017 and 100 percent of barangays by 2015.

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