Gov’t has new tool to find areas without electricity


NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda —PHOTO BY MEG J. ADONIS

MANILA  -The National Electrification Administration (NEA) will soon be able to accurately map out areas without access to electricity after partnering with Cisco Philippines to develop a digital dashboard command center (DDCC).

According to NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda, electric cooperatives (ECs) with their own digital dashboards will have these connected to the agency’s digital command center.

“We can identify households that are not within the ‘gridable’ areas, or those that will not be viable for us to put up a distribution line,” Almeda told the Inquirer in an interview on Thursday.

“We will be able to identify in one province what is already covered by a distribution line, and we can also see what is not yet covered. Without this kind of information, we will just be relying on information that electric cooperatives will be giving us from the ground,” he added.

The DDCC project is part of technology firm Cisco’s Ugnayan 2030 country digital acceleration program that aims to provide near-time data on the performance of electric cooperatives in rural areas.

Cisco will donate the dashboard system to NEA and place it inside the agency’s office in Quezon City by the latter part of the year.

Once the ECs’ dashboards are connected to the main NEA system, a technical team will be able to remotely monitor whether there are any service interruptions or other discrepancies within the cooperative’s service area.

This way, NEA’s quick response team will be able to immediately address incidents while assisting in crucial decision-making, said Zaza Soriano-Nicart, Cisco Philippines country managing director.

READ:  NEA lends P846M to 22 electric cooperatives

“We will be providing the network infrastructure to enable [ECs] to get connected from the NEA headquarters and back …. We will also work with ecosystem partners to help us get the different data streams from the ECs,” Nicart said.

“When we started discussing with Administrator [Almeda] about this, when he shared his vision and objectives, it’s totally aligned with Cisco’s purpose of powering an inclusive future for everybody,” she added.

Phase one

The first phase of the project will begin in the latter part of the year with the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco), which covers Baguio City.

Almeda explained that Beneco was already utilizing supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) and geographic information system (GIS)—meaning they already had their own digital dashboards—and thus made it a suitable pilot area.

Another 60 ECs with existing Scada and GIS systems will be connected to the main dashboard in the second phase slated for the second quarter of 2024.

READ Marcos aims for 100% electrification by term’s end

The remaining 60 ECs, some of which are island ECs and small power utility group areas, will be part of the third phase in 2025.

Almeda did not disclose the investment needed for the entire project but noted that it would be done in phases, given that installing Scada and GIS systems cost around P20 million.

For now, the NEA chief said they wanted to start utilizing Cisco’s dashboard to achieve 100-percent electrification by the end of President Marcos’ term in 2028.

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At present, NEA said only 89 percent of Filipino homes had access to power. President Bongbong Marcos wants electricity to be available for all households by the end of his term. INQ

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