NEA wants ECs to buy satellite phones
By MYRNA M. VELASCO
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has recommended that electric cooperatives (EC) shall procure satellite phones as "emergency tools" during natural calamities that knock down facilities in their service areas.
According to the government-run agency, each electric cooperative shall have at least one satellite phone that they can turn to as mode of communication – primarily in reporting “during and after the onslaught of calamities, disasters and other emergencies.”
It is worth noting that when there are calamities hammering the country, several communities served by these power utilities had been cut-off, hence delaying restoration of electricity services.
NEA Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Ernesto O. Silvano, Jr, noted that when disasters strike, “not only the electric cooperatives' distribution lines and facilities, but also telecommunication towers and equipment are vulnerable to damages and destruction that can hinder the immediate reporting of vital information about the status of damages and restoration efforts in the ECs' franchise areas.”
This prompted NEA to endorse warranted purchase of satellite phones, so the electric cooperatives can beef up their disaster response strategies.
The electrification agency has reminded the ECs though that the "procurement of satellite phones must strictly adhere" to the provision of Republic Act 10531 and its implementing rules and regulations or the amended NEA Charter.
Apart from the more than 20 typhoons - of varied strengths - that have been visiting the country on a yearly basis, the Philippines is also frequently afflicted with other natural calamities, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding as well as other forms of cataclysms.
There are 121 electric cooperatives all over the country catering to the electricity needs of more than 14 million customers, including those in the far-flung areas.
Under the Marcos administration, the priorities set by NEA would be to improve the financial operations of the ECs and to professionalize their management, that way, they can keep pace with consumers’ growing demand for electricity in an efficient and reliable way.