The solon-author of the ECERF law asserted that "NEA must work hand-in-hand with the electric cooperatives to ensure the speedy restoration of electricity in these areas."
He further contended "this is the first big test for the ECERF Law," thus, he pressed government and the ECs to "put it to good use."
"NEA must immediately activate the ECERF
and prioritize the quick disbursement of emergency funds to electric cooperatives serving the areas most hard-hit by Ompong," said Gatchalian, the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy.
'Kaya nga tayo gumawa ng batas gaya ng ECERF Act at naglaan ng pondo para sa ganitong mga okasyon ay para maibsan ang mga dinadalang problema ng ating mga kababayan na nasalanta ng bagyo,' Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, said in a statement.
(The reason why we passed laws such as the ECERF Act and set aside funds is to respond to incidents like this and help lessen the burden of typhoon victims.)
The law, he said, states that the NEA should prepare in advance for the quick disbursement of funds from the ECERF
to empower electric coops to undertake immediate restoration and rehabilitation works on power lines and other power infrastructure that may be damaged by the storm.
The law similarly prescribes that the NEA shall submit quarterly reports on the implementation of the program and the utilization of the ECERF to the Department of Energy, Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) and the Office of the President.
The reports that ECs shall be submitting to NEA for them to have access to the ECERF fund, include those on Vulnerability and Risk Assessment, Resiliency Compliance Plan and Emergency Response Plan.
With the passage of the ECERF
into law, Congressman Velasco is optimistic that Electric Cooperatives damaged by natural disasters will be able to recover faster and resume operations without burden to the consumers.
Based on the approved House version of the measure, the ECERF
shall be broken down as follows: 30 percent for the ECs' disaster prevention, disaster preparedness and disaster mitigation measures as approved by NEA; 60 percent for the restoration and rehabilitation of infrastructures of ECs damaged by catastrophe; and 10 percent for the settlement of expenses incurred by ECs during restoration and rehabilitation of infrastructure damages.
The government shall allot funding to the ECERF
under the national budget to be used exclusively for the restoration or rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure of electric coops, he explained.
According to the law that was signed last June 29, the ECERF
will be managed and administered by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).