Bicol power restoration to last until December 20

By Myrna M. Velasco – December 7, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

Pre-Christmas nights for many Bicolanos will literally be “in the dark” as the restoration of electricity service in typhoon Tisoy-battered areas will last until December 20, based on the assessment of the government as well as of the country’s power utilities.

System operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) indicated that it already deployed 1,000 of its technical team to fast-track the repair of its affected facilities; while National Electrification Administration (NEA) had sent out additional 1,000 people via “Task Force Kapatid” to help the affected distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in bringing back electricity service to their customers. Teams from Northern Luzon and Mindanao already arrived at the site on Friday.

In a power restoration report issued by NGCP on Friday (December 6), some towns in Sorsogon will only regain their power service by December 20, aptly timed to when the damaged transmission facilities servicing these areas will be repaired and energized. The rest of the towns in Sorsogon province, including Sorsogon City, will reclaim their power service by December 12.

For Camarines Sur, the electricity restoration targets are dispersed from December 9, 11 and 17 depending on the areas served by electric cooperatives in the area, according to NGCP’s report to the Department of Energy.

In Albay, most of the areas will have their electricity brought back on December 12; while Ligao City’s power service restoration will come later on December 15.

Other areas that had been thumped by the recent weather disturbance already had their power supply back – the likes of Quezon and Batangas provinces; while the Samar provinces are targeted to have their electricity service back this weekend (December 7 and 8) until Tuesday (December 10) next week.

“NGCP continues with the aerial inspection and foot patrol of all areas affected by typhoon Tisoy, given the large areas of land devastated by the storm,” the system operator said.

It stressed that “mobilization of line personnel and equipment continue – and simultaneous restoration activities are being conducted on the areas already accessible.”

Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said there had been 19 towers in the Bicol region inflicted with damage by the recent typhoon – and of that scale, only three had been repaired and brought back to service.

He explained that when the repair of the additional seven (7) towers along the stretch of Baao to Nabua to Legaspi will be completed, electricity service restoration will definitely speed up.

Nevertheless, the energy official qualified that these towers are in “swampy areas” and had been flooded, hence, NGCP had given word that repair of the towers will be pursued depending on weather conditions.

The restoration of the other nine (9) towers, he added, will also be undertaken simultaneously – and if all plans are carried out as targeted, power supply stability will already be ensured for the Bicol region on or before December 31 this year.