In spite of the demand slump ignited by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) still managed to post 2.0-percent growth in their electricity sales last year, which was quite a feat in such scathing times of a crisis.

In data released by the Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD) of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it was emphasized that the volume of electricity sold by the ECs hovered at 23,622 gigawatt-hours last year, compared to a relatively tamer 23,127 GWh in 2019.

Overall revenues of the power utilities, however, went down by 4.0-percent to P211.457 billion in 2020 versus a heftier P221.359 billion in the prior year.

“The 4.0-percent dip in total revenues of the ECs was due to measures implemented by the power utilities, such as extending the grace periods for bill payments,” NEA explained.

The agency further noted that sales outcome in the first quarter was still bullish with 3.0-percent growth; but there was precipitous slide in the second quarter because that was the period when the toughest pandemic-induced lockdowns were enforced in the country.

“Energy sales for the second quarter showed a 4.0-percent decline from 2019 due to the imposition of community quarantines to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country,” the electrification agency pointed out.

Onward to third quarter last year, energy sales gained traction anew with 3.0-percent growth; while a brisk performance with 7.0-percent growth had been turned in by the ECs in the fourth quarter.

On the revenues, NEA indicated that first quarter top line had already been lower by 2.0-percent, primarily due to the impact of the Taal volcano eruption; and the initial disruption precipitated by the pandemic in the initial months.

The most severe hit on the revenues though happened in the second quarter with a double-digit drop of 12-percent; but that was somehow trimmed to 4.0percent in the third quarter.

In the last quarter, top line result for the ECs had been marginally up with 1.0-percent growth to P53.356 billion; as against P52.831 billion within comparative period in 2019.

Despite relatively dismal financial performance last year, the ECs noted that they still opted to extend payment extensions to ease off consumers’ cost burdens brought about by the health crisis. (MMV)

Source: Manila Bulletin (