Power supply restoration already accelerating in Bicol provinces

Published November 9, 2020, 2:55 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Electricity service restoration in typhoon-ravaged provinces in the Bicol region is now on its accelerated pace, with power supply already back in Naga City and three towns in Camarines Sur; while several towns in Camarines Norte already gained back their power service.

In an update report of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it noted that power distribution in the service areas of Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative (CASURECO II) had been partly restored, specifically in Naga City as well as in the municipalities of Pili, Milaor and Minalabac; while restoration is still ongoing for the other municipalities served by the EC.

For Camarines Norte, it was reported that power service had fully returned in the towns of Talisay, Jose Panganiban, San Vicente, Capalonga, Labo, Paracale, Basud, Daet, Mercedes, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Vinzons and Santa Elena.

NEA emphasized that electricity services in the provinces of Masbate, including Ticao Island; had already been brought back as of last weekend.

Transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) also reported on Saturday that it was able to restore power in Sorsogon and parts of Albay through ‘islanding operations’ that utilized power supply from the Bacon-Manito geothermal plant.

Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation said it was providing 20 to 40 megawatts of temporary power and food assistance to Albay and Sorsogon, as part of its aid to the Bicol region.

As asserted by Engineer Liberato S. Virata, senior vice president and head of EDC’s Facilities O&M Group, it was through the efforts of NGCP that made it possible “for us to energize our two host areas that have about 400,000 households and a population of about 2.0 million.”   

In a related development, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) deployed last week a strapping 206-man contingent to help in the extremely tough electricity service restoration in typhoon-battered Bicol region.

The utility firm said its dispatched team comprised of engineers, linemen and support personnel, who will do their utmost share in bringing back power in Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur.

The Meralco team complemented the more than 300 line workers that the various electric cooperatives had earlier sent to the Bicol region as part of the task force for power restoration in the area.

Meralco said 65 of its team members had been helping NGCP on its repair of downed transmission facilities, as this will be key in restoring power supply in affected areas.

The company said it is closely coordinating with the Department of Energy, NEA and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) in what had been deemed as grueling undertaking of bringing back power supply normalcy in the heavily hit Bicol provinces.

Based on updates issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) and NEA, it was noted that in the service area of Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, power supply had already been back in Bula and Baao; while service restoration in Iriga City and other towns are ongoing.

In the domain of CASURECO IV, partially reconnected had been those in the municipalities of Tigaon, Sagnay, Goa, and Lagonoy; while reinstating power supply is continually worked on for the other five towns.

For Albay, NEA emphasized that “electricity is partially restored in Legaspi City,” as well as the municipalities of Daraga, Rapu-Rapu and Santo Domingo which are all under the franchise area of Albay Electric Cooperative.

For the other typhoon-hit areas such as in Quezon, Batangas and Eastern Visayas, the scale of electricity service brought back already hovered at 70 to 99-percent in some towns.

NEA logged more than 2.091 million Filipino households that lost their electricity service following super typhoon Rolly’s battering; and that covered 20 electric cooperatives servicing 236 municipalities and cities.