Energy sector pushes for ‘bayanihan’ to restore power in typhoon-hit communities by New Year

The entire energy sector, spearheaded by the Department of Energy (DOE), has mobilized various assets for the quick restoration of power facilities in Southern Luzon and parts of Visayas downed by Typhoon Nina.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has ordered the immediate restoration of power facilities using 'bayanihan' or Task Force Kapatid in typhoon-hit areas as the priority of the DOE and the energy family.

"The DOE commits to mobilize as many technical personnel and transport the necessary equipment and facilities to attain 100 percent energization of main commercial areas with hospitals, vital government offices, banks and other necessary communal facilities before New Year," said Cusi.

He added that priority towns include Daet in Camarines Norte; Naga City, Goa, Tinambac, Iriga City, Libmanan in Camarines Sur; Ligao City, Legazpi City and Tabaco City in Albay; Sorsogon City in Sorsogon; Boac in Marinduque; and, Calapan in Mindoro Oriental.

On the transmission system, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has deployed some 500 line personnel coming from North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Operations and Maintenance Group to the Bicol region, targeting the restoration of lines and facilities by New Year's Eve.

Of the 38 transmission facilities, two substations and 18 priority transmission lines have been restored, while 16 transmission lines, one substation and one switch-yard are still undergoing rehabilitation.

On the distribution side, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) reported that a total of 400 men from 40 electric cooperatives around the country have been mobilized to restore the distribution lines in the affected regions.

Moreover, the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) provided and deployed last Dec. 28 several personnel and equipment to help restoration efforts in Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and Oriental Mindoro.

Cusi said, "MERALCO brought with them several mechanized equipment to be used in the restoration, so we can restore parts of Catanduanes, the hardest hit, before the New Year comes in."

In Camarines Sur, the Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative Inc. (CASURECO II) already energized Naga City and parts of Milaor, Minalabac and Pili on the evening of Dec. 26, followed by Calabanga on the night of December 28.

In Albay, the Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC) reported Thursday that the substations in Bitano, Washington, Ligao and Polangui are ready to receive power coming from the NGCP Daraga substation through the 69kV lines. Thus, towns ready to receive power from the four substations are Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City and Polangui.

For Marinduque, an off-grid area, the National Power Corp. (NPC) reported Thursday the available capacities under its Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) Bantad DPP - 1.8 megawatts (MW), Rental - 4.0 MW and PB120 - 3.9 MW with a total capacity of 9.7 MW. Moreover, the portions of Boac Poblacion were energized late afternoon Thursday, while the rehabilitation of lines going to Gasan and Mogpog (Feeder 1) likewise started on Thursday.

In Quezon province, the Quezon I Electric Cooperative Inc. (QUEZELCO I) reported on Dec. 28 that the level of power restoration covering 393 barangays stood at 49 percent.

In Mindoro Oriental, the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (ORMECO) has already energized 19 towns and one city. Specifically, 32 out of 58 barangays in Calapan City were energized.

Earlier, Cusi asked the NGCP and NEA to initiate contingency measures for 'Nina' and to ensure easy mobilization of assets for the recovery and rehabilitation of affected areas.

"More than a thousand personnel from both private and public institutions have been mobilized to ensure the return of power supply before New Year's Eve, so that our affected 'kababayans' (compatriots) would have brighter hopes in the coming of the (new) year," Cusi said.

Source: Philippines News Agency