After being slammed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said they are updating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and emergency responses to mitigate the impact of natural disasters to the sector.
Cusi said disaster risk reduction is the agency’s priority, along with the speedy restoration of power during outages causes by typhoons and calamities.
“On the part of the DOE, we are reviewing the protocols to be followed by energy sector players, especially the measures on climate change adaptation,” Cusi said.
“We are constantly on the lookout for better systems and technologies, as well as SOPs and protocols in undertaking repair and rehabilitation of damaged lines and energy facilities,” he added.
Committee on Energy chairman Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called out the agency for not having protocols in place for disaster mitigation intended to help electric cooperatives address the complications of power outages in areas affected by natural disasters.
Gatchalian said this following DOE director Cesar dela Fuente’s admission that the DOE does not have a protocol in place for disaster preparedness.
Cusi said the DOE has been following the measures set by the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (R.A. 10121), implemented by the National Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
NEA Calamity Fund
The DOE is currently making use of “Task Force Kapatid” through the facilitation of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), for whom Cusi acts as the chairman of the board.
The task force oversees the repair and rehabilitation of lines, and restores electricity services during typhoon.
“Our priority is to ensure that people in the typhoon-affected areas be served with electricity on schedule. The DOE, in coordination with NEA, has organized and mobilized personnel to rehabilitate distribution lines and fast track power restoration through the Task Force Kapatid operations to work double-time, especially in hard-hit areas,” Cusi said.
The NEA has also given out P2.434 billion in loans to 56 electric cooperatives in 2016 to fund rural electrification projects, exceeding the P1.7 billion target the government set for the year.