Meralco, other firms prepare measures for typhoon Rolly

Published October 31, 2020, 12:20 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and other industry players are now stepping up on their preparations and contingency measures to mitigate power interruptions that could be brought in by strong typhoon Rolly, which is expected to make a landfall this weekend.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has similarly mobilized all players in the energy sector – both in the power and oil industries – “to be well prepared and to effectively prevent and minimize potential damage to our energy facilities.”

Via the Task Force on Energy Resiliency (TFER), Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi instructed all energy firms: “We must be ready to respond immediately and conduct rapid damage assessments should the typhoon leave a trail of destruction in its wake.”

Meralco, for its part, is “gearing all efforts to prepare its systems and personnel to immediately respond to power outages,” that may result from the widely anticipated harsh weather condition starting this weekend.

“As a 24-hour service company, we are committed to respond to these types of emergency,” said Joe Zaldarriaga, spokesperson and head of corporate communications of Meralco.

He assured that the utility firm’s crews “are on standby to attend to any trouble that may affect our facilities in areas that might be hit by the typhoon.”

Zaldarriaga noted that the company set in place all the necessary measures that could take the edge off on typhoon Rolly’s torment on their customers, especially on their electricity service which is a highly necessary commodity to lean on in times of calamity that is even aggravated by the lingering Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said it has continuously issued advisories on appropriate precautionary measures to be taken before and after the whip of the typhoon, so the public can be properly guided even on the warranted safety tips in using electrical devices.

Meralco likewise requested billboard owners and operators “to temporarily roll their billboards up to prevent these structures from being toppled by the strong winds.”

The Meralco executive explained “billboards that fall into electrical facilities are among the main reasons for power outages whenever there are strong winds.”

Zaldarriaga similarly called on the public “to keep all channels of communication open and ready,” and to ensure that their gadgets had already been fully charged before the strike of the weather disturbance; and they must also tune in to different public service radio stations for updates in cases of power interruptions.

Further, the DOE has directed all industry players to already start monitoring developments on the ground and “to activate their respective disaster risk preparedness and response protocols.”

Primarily for the electric cooperatives, Cusi has instructed the National Electrification Administration (NEA) “to mobilize Task Force Kapatid for the immediate restoration of power in areas that would be affected by typhoon Rolly.”

For the oil sector, the energy chief said he asked the industry players “to secure the proper fuel inventory levels,” while also reminding them on the implementation of a price freeze on household liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene products should there be areas placed under state of calamity.