Pace of restoration work on transmission lines ahead of schedule
There will be light in northern Cebu before Christmas. A ranking regional official of the energy department yesterday gave this assurance as he announced that the ongoing work to restore power lines in areas devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda is ahead of schedule.
Antonio Labios, regional director of the Department of Energy (DOE), said the pace of work is even faster than that of Eastern Visayas.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla last week vowed to restore power in the Visayas before Christmas eve.
Petilla’s self-imposed deadline of Dec. 24 is about five months ahead of the initial assessment of the DOE that it would take at least half a year to restore the power grid in the aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas.
“It’s hard to celebrate Christmas without electricity,” Petilla earlier said.
“My point here is at least during Christmas you’ll have electricity because the first sign of hope is always electricity. So that’s what we’ll strive hard to achieve.”
The DOE director said the limited power supply in the Visayas means Cebu will continue to experience rotation brownouts lasting one to two hours.
There are 38 electric power cooperatives helping in the restoration efforts.
About 1,500 personnel from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) were deployed in the Visayas to help fix transmission lines.
The Cebu grid provides 23 megawatts of power to Eastern Visayas through a submarine cable from Daanbantayan town to Tabango, Leyte. From Tabango, the power service will go through Ormoc and Maasin then another submarine cable is linked to Bohol province.
Labios said that 19 megawatts of the 23 megawatts that Cebu provides was used in Bohol to power up the province for yesterday’s special barangay elections.
“We have to share,” he said.
Labios said utility companies and power contractors restored last week the main transmission lines in the northern Cebu towns which means power is back in poblacion areas and highways.
He said Cebu Electric Cooperative II (Cebeco II) restored the backbone lines in the towns of Compostela, Danao, Borbon, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan, Bogo City and Carmen while the towns of Catmon, Sogod, San Remegio, Medellin and Daanbantayan have been “partially energized.”
The Camotes Electric Cooperative (Celco) has restored power in the town centers of Poro and San Francisco.
In Bantayan Island, the Bantayan Electric Cooperative (Banelco) was able to restore 50 percent of the backbone lines as the diesel power plant serving the utility service provider is still operational.
The areas serviced by Cebeco I and III are already restored and energized.
The DOE has distributed 165 generators in the Visayas of which 60 are in Leyte, 48 in E. Samar, 30 in Samar, 10 in Iloilo, five in Palawan, and 12 in Cebu.
Petilla said he was making this fearless forecast to “satisfy the public (and) to show them that I am sincere and I will do my best.”
Petilla conducted an aerial survey of Yolanda’s devastation on Nov. 9, a day after ferocious winds and tsunami-like storm surges toppled power lines, knocked off communications installations and killed more than 5,000 people.
He initially found it “impossible” to restore power to towns hardest-hit by Yolanda by the end of the year because almost 160 towers and over 1,000 power poles were badly damaged. /Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Correspondent with an Inquirer report
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.