DOE seeks ‘stronger emergency protocols’ for power firms in times of disasters

Published February 24, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

As typhoon season has kicked off again this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking stronger ‘emergency protocols’ that shall be instituted by the power industry, as response to the strike of natural calamities.

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, there is a need among players in the power industry chain “to establish better protocols to be conducted before, during and after the occurrence of calamities.”

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Photo credit: https://www.doe.gov.ph)

To draw up said strategies, the energy department is currently re-assessing the impact of various strong typhoons that barreled the country last year – primarily in the worst hit areas of Bicol region, via its self-designed after-action review (AAR) framework.

The DOE specifically stated that “the extent of damages to some areas were so bad,” and it cited the devastation suffered by the power utilities like First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (FICELCO) and Albay Power Energy Corporation-Albay Electric Cooperative (APEC-ALECO), that until this time, electricity service restorations are still ongoing in their respective franchise areas.

Cusi acknowledged that in the power sector’s disaster response, “the entire energy family must work together to ensure that our energy systems are strong and resilient enough to withstand calamity.”

The energy chief added that through the AAR, “we can look back and learn how we could further improve our disaster risk reduction and management strategies.”

The DOE has cast four pillars that shall serve as basis of its performance assessment when it comes to the readiness of the energy sector in dealing with disaster response strategies – and these delve with: strengthening infrastructure; establishment of systems; stockpiling; as well as response and recovery.

These goals, it added, are anchored on the need to: 1) identify measures that would strengthen existing infrastructure to adapt and withstand various conditions; 2) analyze emerging mitigation improvement measures of reconstruction and rehabilitation that are aligned with Build-Back-Better principles; 3) identify improvements on operational and maintenance standards; and 4) discuss resiliency standards.

Cusi emphasized “these four pillars of energy resiliency must be reviewed regularly” so the industry can step up on its disaster response protocols prior to, during and on the aftermath of a disaster’s strike.

The energy chief pointed out the challenges posed by the series of earthquakes and super typhoons last year, “highlighted the urgent need for us to raise our understanding and implementation of energy resilience to the highest level.”

 
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