By Myrna Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) has enforced a 15-day price freeze for socially-sensitive petroleum products – primarily kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) — in areas that had been physically battered by the recent typhoon Ursula.
“Upon the declaration of a state of calamity in areas that have been affected by typhoon Ursula, a price freeze will be implemented on the prices of kerosene and household LPG for 15 days,” the energy department has announced.
The ‘no-price increase’ scenario for LPG among residential end-users in the typhoon-hit areas is well timed as the price of cooking fuel had gone up by P7.55 per kilogram (or roughly P83 for the standard cylinder) just at the strike of the New Year.
Similarly, for kerosene products, which could be a very essential commodity to light up the calamity-stricken communities while their electricity service is still undergoing restoration, prices had also been up by P0.35 per liter on Tuesday (December 31).
Aside from power supply, oil facilities in the typhoon-hit Visayas region had also incurred damages, based on a report of the Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) of the DOE.
“Minor damages have been accounted in the gasoline stations of PetroGazz, Shell, Jetti and Total,” the energy department said.
It added that Dennis Uy-owned Phoenix Petroleum reported five “un-operational retail stations due to damages in areas of Roxas, Leyte and Tacloban City.”
Another industry player Seaoil also apprised the energy department that it has “no commercial power in its Babatngon, Leyte depot since December 24,” or starting at the eve of Christmas Day.
The oil companies though have reported no damages on their depots or oil terminals, hence, that comes as an assurance that they have “sufficient supply of petroleum products.”
The country had been hit with two strong typhoons during the Christmas holidays (the other one was typhoon Tisoy) and many Filipino consumers in the Bicol region and Visayas areas are still getting their grips with how they could move on into the new decade following the misery that they had to wade through with the plague of the recent calamities.
The energy department and the country’s power utilities are also busy in the field repairing all the damaged electric facilities so power supply could be restored soonest.