ECs deploy over 300 line workers on Bicol power restoration

Published November 3, 2020, 4:53 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

In the spirit of ‘civic unity’ or bayanihan, the country’s electric cooperatives (EC) are deploying hundreds of their workers so electricity service restoration in the typhoon-crumbled provinces in the Bicol region could be stepped up.

The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) said the crew dispatch will comprise of 52 teams and will have 306 line workers in the contingent.

PHILRECA assured its deployed EC-volunteers have already “complied with the health and safety protocols of the local governments in the affected areas.”

Through the ‘Task Force Kapatid,’ the National Electrification Administration (NEA) engaged the help of electric cooperatives from the other regions (I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, XI and XIII) so they can send part of their technical crew to help in the tough task of bringing back power supply in the hardly-hit provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon; as well as those in Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro and Marinqudue.

Catanduanes, in particular, had been isolated since the strike of super typhoon Rolly last Sunday (November 1) because of downed telecommunications and power facilities. So far, it was reported by Malacanang on Monday afternoon that initial contact had already been established with the government leaders in the province.

According to PHILRECA, the volunteer-ECs “will be arriving with their own boom trucks and all necessary equipment,” and they will also be bringing their own food, nourishment as well as other needs on their sustenance.

On the part of the electric cooperatives that will be aided in the power restoration, it will be the accommodation of the volunteer-ECs that they will be shouldering in the ‘cost burden’ arrangement.

However, because of unfavorable weather condition in these typhoon-pummeled areas, PHILRECA indicated that “the task force will have to wait for the final confirmation before they can proceed to their destinations.”

While return of electricity service in the Bicol region is still uncertain, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) reported as of Tuesday morning that its restoration of power service to affected customers was already inching close to completion – and it was just working on the remaining 0.02-percent or 1,838 customers at the time.

NEA, in particular, noted that while deployment of crews had already been decided by the ECs, the Bicol provinces were still distressed with total blackouts as of November 3 (Tuesday).

According to the electrification agency, the areas where efforts already started on bringing back electricity service had been for affected households in the franchise area of Masbate Electric Cooperative (MASELCO); as well as those of Ticao Island Electric Cooperative (TISELCO), primarily in the municipalities of Batuan, San Fernando, San Jacinto and Monreal.

In the equally tormented Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon corridor, NEA noted that “efforts are ongoing to restore service in areas covered by the Quezon I Electric Cooperative Inc. First Laguna Electric Cooperative Inc. and Batangas I and II Electric Cooperatives.”

Reinstatement of power supply is similarly pursued in other affected areas: including those in Marinduque, Romblon as well as Northern Samar in the Visayas.