National Grid, PSALM, NPC slammed for keeping Pablo-hit areas without power
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Electric cooperatives officials took turns, on Saturday, in criticizing the power industry’s big three – the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) and the National Power Corp. (NPC)—for their “sluggish response” in restoring full power supply in areas devastated by typhoon Pablo, particularly Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
Sergio Dagooc, president of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (Amreco), said electric cooperatives serving the typhoon-devastated areas has been striving hard to restore power lines toppled by the typhoon but electricity has not been restored yet because of the lack of power supply flowing in.
Dagooc admitted that electric cooperatives in Pablo-affected areas have not fully restored power lines and toppled posts.
But he said it was not a reason for the NGCP, PSALM and NPC to delay the restoration of power supply in areas where lines and posts have been restored.
Except for lateral connections like residential areas, the rural cooperatives have already set up majority of the toppled electric posts, he said.
“But all our concerted efforts are useless without the support of these agencies,” Wilfredo Billena, president of the Philippine Rural Electric Coop. Association, Inc. (Philreca), said.
Dagooc said the three power companies had not even given hints on when they could restore power supply in the typhoon-affected areas.
He said NGCP, PSALM and NPC representatives would not even provide updates on the progress of efforts to restore power in typhoon-affected areas during a meeting on Dec. 13.
“We do not know the progress on the extent of the rehabilitation of their lines. There should be a continuing or periodic report,” Dagooc said.
He admitted that the restoration of electricity in Davao Oriental would pose the most difficult challenge but pointed out that Doreco, the power cooperative in the said province, has been exerting full efforts.
Dagooc said Amreco was thankful to the support of members in other parts of Mindanao and cooperatives serving the Visayas Island.
He said these cooperatives had been helping speed up the restoration of topped electric posts and power lines.
“Amreco is also getting assistance from Task Force Kapatid: Typhoon Pablo, a modern day bayanihan and a National Electrification Administration (NEA)-initiated program that pools together volunteers from the different electric cooperatives to render free service to other ECs, which need technical help either in time of calamities for immediate power restoration,” Dagooc said.
Horacio Santos of the Caraga Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (CRECA) said the restoration of all toppled lines and posts in Region 13 has been hampered by the lack of cross-arm steel electric posts and other materials.
But he said that NGC, PSALM and NPC had no excuse for not restoring power supply to areas, where lines had already been restored.
“We have restored lines, but the problem is we have no supply,” Santos said.