Power contingency measures pushed

Published September 9, 2021, 5:53 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

After massive power interruptions that affected more than 1.5 million Filipino customers as an aftermath of tropical storm Jolina, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is calling on all power industry players to intensify their preparations and reinforce contingency measures to minimize brownout incidents and damages the next typhoon – Kiko – might cause.

Cusi photo

The energy chief similarly asked all power utilities to speed up repair works in areas pummeled by the recent storm, so electricity services can finally be brought back in the homes of suffering consumers.

“We are asking all the energy public utilities and industry players with their facilities affected by tropical storm Jolina to fast-track their restoration activities, and at the same time, prepare and be ready for the incoming typhoon Kiko,” Cusi stressed.

The energy secretary primarily directed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Task Force on Energy Resiliency “to coordinate and ensure quick power restoration to affected areas of tropical storm Jolina, at the same time, initiate all preparations for typhoon Kiko.”

Yet given the dangers faced by crews and teams doing field restoration activities, Cusi also extended appreciation to the ‘hard work’ and extra efforts of power utility workers, “especially to the people on the ground, for their commitment to help bring normalcy back to those heavily hit by the typhoon.”

In an update provided by the DOE, it cited a report of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) that more than 1.06 million household customers have lost power service at the passing of storm Jolina on Tuesday and Wednesday (September 7 and 8).

The department qualified though that as of Thursday morning (September 9), electricity service restoration already hovered at 45.38-percent — or about 482,303 households already got their power supply back.

The more than 1.0 million customers who experienced brownouts in the service domains of the electric cooperatives, had been on top of the more than 500 end-users who were also distressed with power service interruptions in the franchise area of Manila Electric Company – primarily those in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.

NEA indicated that the areas plunged into ‘darkness’ included those in the service areas of Batangas II Electric Cooperative (BATELEC II); Marinduque Electric Cooperative (MARELCO); Ticao Island Electric Cooperative (TIELCO); Masbate Electric Cooperative (MASELCO); Biliran Electric Cooperative (BILECO); Samar Electric Cooperatives I and II (SAMELCO I and II); Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (ESAMELCO); and Leyte Electric Cooperatives (LEYECO) III and V.

The DOE further noted that for affected customers in Masbate, restoration of their electricity service may last until September 30; while those served by SAMELCO may have full restoration of power supply starting Friday (September 10).

With the impairments sustained by power facilities that then triggered the brownouts, Cusi is directing the power companies to take no chances in the next anticipated wallop of typhoon Kiko, which is seen to be even stronger than the last weather disturbance.

Based on forecasts, typhoon Kiko will have maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center; and gustiness of up to 230 kilometers; and has been spotted at east of Baler, Aurora as of Thursday morning. ###

 
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