By Ben Rosario
Despite the availability of P2.35 billion to provide power to 450,000 households, the Department of Energy (DOE) was only able to provide electricity to only 77,121 households.
The Commission on Audit, in its 2018 annual audit report for the DOE, said based on the evaluation conducted by its Audit Team, the DOE’s minimal accomplishments in providing electricity indicate that it is “not yet ready or not fully equipped with adequate resources to handle the project.
“Based on their mandate, they are more of energy policy crafting, monitoring and regulatory functions rather than project implementer which resulted in non-completion of the NIHE program in providing electricity access to 450,000 HHs nationwide,” COA noted.
Previously known as the Household Electrification Development Program, the NIHE serves as the policy and program framework for electrification initiatives of the government.
The NIHE was to be implemented from 2014-2017 in support of the government’s Philippine Development Plan of 2011 to 2016. Its goal was to achieve 90 percent nationwide household level electrification by 2017.
“However, the program continued up to CY 2018, but would cease operation by CY 2019 due to low implementation,” COA said as it identified the Energy Power Industry Management Bureau and the rural Electrification Administration and Management Division as DOE’s program implementers.
State auditors lamented that notwithstanding the availability of P2.35 billion to finance the program, the DOE was only able to pay P498.438 million or 30.80 of the total awarded contracts to 78 distribution utilities.
“The low output delivery and utilization rates were mainly attributable to lack of public bidding in procuring the services of the most qualified Distribution Utilities (Dus) to implement the project and some noted deficiencies in the project documents and implementation process of the program,” COA explained.
Audit records indicate that the program grants “house-wiring subsidy” of P3,750.00 to poor and qualified families.
Had the DOE succeeded in implementing the program, a total 450,000 poor families should have been given access to electricity by 2017 or 2018.
During the implementation stages, the DOE was confronted with problems such as deficiencies in project documents and implementation processes.
In its recommendation, COA asked the DOE to prioritize and speed up the implementation of existing approved NIHE projects with the DUS with released funds.
“Correct the deficiencies in the project documents and consider the way forward,” the audit agency stated.
COA also recommended to DOE the termination of all memorandums of agreement with distribution utilities that remain idle and conduct public bidding for the services of the most qualified and most competent Dus in order to swiftly implement the project.