Nearly fifty years ago, NRECA International helped establish a small electrification program in the Philippines funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that sparked the promise of a better future for millions of people. This early involvement led to the creation of the nation’s National Electrification Administration (NEA) and subsequently the country’s electric co-op movement.
Today the NEA’s 119 electric co-ops spread throughout the archipelago bring electricity to more than 56 million people in 36,000 rural villages and rural towns.
In 2004 to help these electric co-ops improve their performance, the Rural Electrification Finance Corporation (REFC) was formed to provide the electric cooperatives with a private, cooperative-owned financing mechanism to introduce improved technology and finance key investments. With funding support from USAID and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, NRECA International led a feasibility study showing the viability of forming a lending institution similar to one that was created here in the United States for electric co-ops in 1970, then capitalized the new institution with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, REFC has 84 electric cooperative stockholder members, its capital stands at $15 million, its loan portfolio stands at almost $10 million, and the total lending to its cooperative shareholders in projects to improve dependable service and operational efficiency has reached to more than $32 million.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. Thirty-three electric co-ops suffered heavy damages and 11 were completely destroyed. But those co-ops were able to bounce back. Electric co-ops around the country also mobilized within hours after the storm’s passing to assist in rebuilding the affected areas. NRECA and its member co-ops provided financial assistance in the relief effort, showing solidarity between co-ops from across the globe.
NRECA International continues to support NEA and the electric co-ops in the Philippines with governance training, sharing best practices in management and distribution system operations as well as natural disaster recovery and resiliency. NRECA and its member co-ops are regarded as long term partners to help the electric co-ops across the ocean become the electricity provider of choice in the newly competitive power sector of the Philippines.
- National Electrification Administration
- Rural Electrification Financing Corporation
- United States Agency for International Development
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- International Finance Corporation