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Power restored by March 31–Petilla

/ 12:08 AM March 10, 2014

ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla. RAFFY LERMA

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said electric cooperatives were working to fully restore power supply in areas ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” by March 31.

“Slowly we are restoring power. I suggested a deadline of March 31 (to electric cooperatives) and a lot of them have committed,” Petilla said on the sidelines of the groundbreaking of a 150-megawatt coal-fired plant expansion project of Panay Energy Development Corp. here last Friday.

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About 70 to 80 percent of power supply had been restored in areas hit by the supertyphoon in Iloilo, Antique, Aklan and Capiz provinces and around 50 percent in Leyte and Samar provinces, according to Petilla.

He said the restoration efforts were primarily the responsibility of electric cooperatives but the government was helping because of the magnitude of the damage.

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The supertyphoon that hit mostly the Visayas on Nov. 8 last year toppled thousands of electric poles and destroyed transmitters and other facilities.

In Capiz alone, about 30,000 poles were toppled, according to Capiz Electric Cooperative (Capelco).

Repair crews from electric cooperatives from Mindanao and Luzon have been helping in the restoration efforts through the “Task Force Kapatid” of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

But electricity could not be restored in houses without roofs and those replaced with tents due to safety concerns, Petilla said.

The government had initially released P3.9 billion through the NEA as assistance to electric cooperatives but this was below the initial estimate of the P5-billion cost of damage, he added.

The amount of assistance will depend on the damage incurred by the cooperatives and the available funds.

The fund would cover the partial cost of damage, he clarified.

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“These are government funds for privately operated cooperatives. We need to follow [the defined process],” Petilla said.

Capelco alone had reported P670 million in damage due to the supertyphoon and was assured of a P505-million grant from the government, said Capelco general manager Edgar Diaz in an earlier interview.

Capelco consumers earlier raised the concern that the cost of damage due to the supertyphoon could be passed on to consumers who are already hit hard by Yolanda.

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TAGS: blackout, Energy, News, power industry, Regions
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