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.
In 2015, the Philippines reached a milestone when its 119 electric co-ops, spread throughout the archipelago, exceeded 11 million in total service connections, bringing electricity to 50 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.
Today, 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