Meralco helps restore power in typhoon-hit areas

In efforts to bring back light to Filipino households in typhoon-stricken areas before this weekend’s Christmas celebrations, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is joining the bandwagon of industry stakeholders that will fast-track the restoration of electricity service for more than 3 million customers in the devastated areas.

The utility firm said it coordinated with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) for its deployment of crew in Cebu “to help assess the extent of damage to power facilities.”

Meralco announced that it will be sending a contingent of 50 engineers and linemen, 25 of which have already arrived in Cebu on December 21 (Tuesday) “to immediately help in clearing operations and power restoration in the province.”

The firm added it has also been coordinating with key entities, like the Philippine Navy and its affiliate-firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), “for the transportation of additional personnel, 15 vehicles, 11 generator sets and heavy equipment to the work site.”

The service area of VECO in the Visayas, had been among the areas heavily battered by the recent devastation of the strongest typhoon that hit the country this year; that as of press time, residents in the Queen City of the South are still complaining of blackouts as well as failing access to basic services, such as water, telecommunications and even bank services.

On its offer of help, Meralco noted that “more personnel and portable generator sets are currently on standby and ready to be deployed to other areas that would need assistance.”

It is worth noting that aside from Cebu, other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao are also groping in the dark because of damaged transmission facilities; hence, power cannot be brought back until the backbone of the electricity system will revert back to normal operations.

Via the Meralco Foundation, the team from Meralco Group is also working closely with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation as well as other companies in the conglomerate led by business magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan; and with the government and private sectors “to provide relief to those severely affected by the typhoon.”

As supplementing support to the ongoing restoration activity, its subsidiary-firms Meralco PowerGen Corporation and Global Business Power Corporation likewise committed to provide 20,000 liters of diesel to help fuel the generator sets of Smart and PLDT – because telecommunications will be a core service needing immediate restoration so people in the affected areas can finally connect with their relatives and friends.

The Department of Energy (DOE) previously indicated that it will press for ‘best efforts’ on all relevant stakeholders so Filipinos shattered by the recent calamity can at least feel the glimmer of hope on or before the strike of Christmas Eve by weekend.

Separately, the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) apprised media that it sent 44 teams from its member-electric cooperatives to help in the restoration of distribution systems of electric cooperatives – with the initial batch of 170 line workers dispatched in Regions 6, 7, 8, 10 and the Caraga administrative region in Mindanao.

“More electric cooperatives have also expressed and confirmed their commitment to send line workers, equipment and needed materials to other typhoon Odette-affected electric cooperatives in Visayas and Mindanao,” the aggrupation of ECs noted.

According to Atty Janeene Depay-Colingan, executive director and general manager of PHILRECA, “different cooperatives have different circumstances and needs – some affected ECs need additional manpower only, some need materials or equipment, while some need both – that is why we are trying our best to meet the affected and assisting ECs first before we start full deplopyment because we cannot afford to have a mismatch of resources.”

She qualified that “many ECs are ready to receive and distribute power but they are still waiting update from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP on when the system operator can begin transmitting electricity again.”


Article by Myrna M. Velasco | Manila Bulletin

Photo: Meralco Newsroom Facebook Page