By Lenie Lectura – August 6, 2018
from Business Mirror
THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) are allocating P14.155 billion to relocate 10,342 electric posts to give way for the government’s various infrastructure projects.
“Our initial ballpark estimate is for us to be able to relocate all the affected poles in all these five priority projects of the DoTr. We will be needing P14.1 billion and there’s a cost sharing between Meralco [30 percent] and the DOTr [70 percent],” Meralco head of networks Ronnie Aperocho said.
Of the amount, P9.916 billion will be shouldered by the DoTr and the remaining P4.239 billion will be charged to Meralco.
The Meralco official said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) will be signed soon by both parties.
“The parties, through the draft MOA, agree to shoulder adjustment costs based on actual relocation costs. We’re now finalizing the MOA. We just want to make sure the agreement is very clear, solid and secured…because this can be a major issue and potential source of disputes,” Aperocho said.
Some 6,435 Meralco poles must be relocated to give way to the PNR South Long Haul project that spans 208 kilometers (kms).
Another railway project that involves the relocation of 1,884 poles is the PNR South Commuter Railway spanning 56 kms from Manila-Calamba-Los Baños.
For the PNR North 1 project, which spans 38.2 kms fromTutuban to Malolos, a total of 1,395 poles will be affected. Meralco said it expects to relocate affected facilities in September this year.
The fourth railway project is PNR’s North 2. Meralco said 390 poles will be affected. This 12.6-km project is located along the Old PNR Malolos station to the Old PNR Apalit station.
For the Metro Manila Skyway project, 238 Meralco posts will be relocated.
These 10,342 electric posts are separate from the 1,519 posts that Meralco is expected to relocate this year. The poles will be affected by ongoing road projects spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In 2017 Meralco relocated more than 1,000 of its poles across its franchise area. “But for 2018, we’re facing a higher workload. The DPWH alone is expecting us to relocate 1,519 poles, mostly in the south,” the Meralco official said.
The four priority road projects identified by the DPWH are the Manila South Road, Manila-Batangas Road, Daang Maharlika-Lucena Road and the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Ulat Road.
“On top of that, we’re also working on several PPP and other ‘BBB’ programs,” Aperocho said. These include the LRT 2 East extension project, at 88 percent completion rate; Skyway Stage 3, at 81 percent; MNTC Segment 10, 17 percent and MRT 7 at 40 percent.
“With the BBB program of the Duterte administration, it is imperative for utilities like Meralco to relocate the poles affected by bridge construction and rehabilitation, as well as road-widening projects. Actually, this had put a strain in our resources, but we exert our best effort to work with stakeholders to meet their timelines and completion timetable. The biggest of them all is the DOTr priority railway projects,” Aperocho said.