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Electricity yet to be restored in Eastern Samar villages

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Several areas of Eastern Samar spent Christmas literally in the dark.

This was because power had yet to be restored in remote villages in Eastern Samar since Dec. 6 when Typhoon “Ruby” unleashed its wrath in the province and toppled several electric posts.

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Rothany Canas of the engineering department of Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (Esamelco) told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview that they were working double time to repair the toppled power posts and restore power before the New Year.

He, however, could not say how many barangays were affected. Esamelco serves Borongan City and 22 towns of Eastern Samar. “But we are doing our best to restore power by Dec. 31,” Canas said.

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Ryan Ayon of Barangay Carmen in Hernani town, Eastern Samar, said their village of more than 200 houses remained without power. “They promised to restore power by Christmas but this did not happen. This was the second straight year that we are celebrating Christmas, and possibly the New Year, in the dark,” Ayon said.

Hernani was also devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” last year.

Betty Martinez of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, said the NGCP had already distributed power to the electric cooperatives to include Esamelco.

Power was restored in many parts of Eastern Samar on Dec. 22, when President Aquino went to visit Borongan and Dolores town.

During a media briefing on Dec. 8, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla gave the assurance that power in the three Samar provinces, Leyte and Biliran would be restored before Christmas.

“Definitely there will be power before Christmas because we don’t want you to have a dark Christmas,” said Petilla, whose political clan is from Eastern Visayas.

Power has been restored to more than 90 percent of the municipalities and barangays in the typhoon-affected coverage areas of the electric cooperatives.

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Electric cooperatives (ECs) have restored electric power in most of the areas affected by Ruby and are continuing restoration work in remote areas, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA), which supervises ECs in the country.

Of the affected 4.5 million households, 387,415 households or 8 percent remain without electricity, according to NEA data.

“NEA is closely coordinating with the electric cooperatives on their power restoration efforts. All means are being done for our typhoon-devastated countrymen to have electricity the soonest time possible,” NEA administrator Edita S. Bueno said.

In the Bicol region, all provinces are fully reenergized including Masbate. In Eastern Visayas, which was badly hit by “Ruby,” only Samar is not yet 100 percent restored, Bueno said.

According to NEA, most ECs have started receiving or are ready to receive power from the NGCP.

Meanwhile, rehabilitation continues in remote areas still lacking power, Bueno said.

After Ruby hit the Visayas and parts of Luzon earlier this month, Petilla said he expected power services to be back in major towns and cities by Christmas and in the more remote towns around New Year.

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TAGS: Betty Martinez, Bicol, Borongan City, Eastern Samar, Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative, Edita S. Bueno, Electric Cooperatives, Electricity, Esamelco, Jericho Petilla, Masbate, National Electrification Administration, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Rothany Canas, Ryan Ayon, Samar, Typhoon Ruby
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