Senate OKs emergency fund for power co-ops

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The Senate has approved the creation of a P750-million emergency fund for electric cooperatives whose services are affected by natural disasters.

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Legislators on Monday unanimously backed the Electric Cooperative Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act of 2017, which is aimed at facilitating the restoration of power services and the rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged by calamities.

The National Electrification Administration will handle fund disbursements and to facilitate drawdowns, cooperatives will have to submit a comprehensive disaster management program covering critical assets.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who sponsored the measure, said that cooperatives carry the burden of restoring power supply as swiftly as possible after calamity strikes.

“Electric cooperatives must be ready at all times to turn the lights back on in the homes of disaster survivors, who already have to worry about the economic and housing conditions of their families after natural calamities hit their communities,” he noted.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong earlier this year called for the creation of a “comprehensive emergency fund” for power cooperatives.

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