Around 530 houses in far-flung villages of the second district including island communities are set to be energized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in cooperation with the European Union (EU) through its Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP).
According to Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO) II general manager Engr. Eugene Tan, a prepaid photovoltaic mainstream system, also known as solar power system, will be installed in various Bohol villages.
Barangays in the second district chosen as beneficiary include Barangay Cataban in Talibon and the villages of West Hingotanan, East Hingotanan, Bilangbilangan Dako and Bilangbilangan Diyot in the town of Bien Unido.
A P12-million budget was allotted for the project which is expected to be completed within the year, said Tan.
The second district was chosen as pilot site of the program due to its numerous island communities situated far from the mainland, he added.
Prior to the current project, the initiative was also implemented in other 300 homes in the second district including those at the island of Mahanay in Getafe.
According to Tan, solar power generation costs less than other sources such as generators.
Beneficiaries of the program pay approximately P200 a month for the use of solar-drawn power, an arrangement preapproved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, he added.
Although power usage is free, the said amount will be collected for regular maintenance of the system.
On Sept. 21, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi signed a memorandum of agreement along with BOHECO II and other distribution utilities in the country to start efforts in energizing 5,574 houses outside the power grid.
The wide-scale endeavor which would also cover Bohol is projected to cost P131 million.
Meanwhile, the EU-ASEP and the World Bank are aiming at the energization of 40,500 houses across the country by 2018.
In an earlier statement, Cusi highlighted the project as among priorities in efforts to provide the basic need of electricity and improve living conditions of residents in remote areas.
This would allow residents to watch and listen to news and other important announcements and allow children to read at night to study, he said. (Rey Tutas)