The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) says it has restored 97% of transmission lines affected by Typhoon Odette’s onslaught last December, but hundreds of thousands of customers in Visayas and Mindanao still await the resumption of electric services given the slow restoration of several electric cooperatives (ECs).
In a media briefing on Tuesday, NGCP said that it has restored 92 of the 95 affected transmission lines, the latest ones being the Colon-Calongcalong 138-kilovolt Line 2, and Colon-Cebu 138kV Lines 2 and 3 in Cebu; Maasin-Hilingos-Baybay and Maasin-Nasaug-San Isidro 69 kV lines in Leyte; and the Ubay-Trinidad-Carmen 69kV Line in Bohol.
“These are big additions in terms of additional transmission capacity that will allow the grid to accommodate more power from generating plants,” NGCP Engineering Project Management Department Head Randy Galang said.
Only the Calongcalong-Colon 138kV Line 1 in Cebu, as well as the Ubay-Corella and Tugas-Ubay 138kV lines in Bohol are still up for restoration. The Tugas-Ubay line particularly hosts the two 130-meter special transmission towers, which Odette toppled. NGCP had said that it aims to rebuild the towers by April 30. Both towers are linked to the Leyte-Bohol interconnection, which gives 60% of Bohol’s power demand.
However, despite the restoration of transmission lines, household-level electrical connections remain a major concern, as nine ECs have restored power to less than half of their respective customers.
Most affected are the Bohol I Electric Cooperative (BOHECO I) and the Bohol II Electric Cooperative (BOHECO II) with 2.39% and 8.64%, respectively, as they are directly affected by NGCP’s two toppled special towers.
Other ECs affected are the Dinagat Islands Electric Cooperative (8.92%), Surigao Del Norte Electric Cooperative (SURNECO) (15.56%), Siargao Island Electric Cooperative (23.61%), Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (18.25%), Negros Oriental I Electric Cooperative (22.4%), Cebu I Electric Cooperative (44.02%), and Leyte IV Electric Cooperative (46.78%).
Energy Usec. Felix William Fuentebella said the Department of Energy met with BOHECO I and II representatives Tuesday, adding the agency will meet the other mentioned ECs to help assist with restoration works.
“[There are nine ECs] that are still below 50% [household restoration]. So, we have to call a meeting [for] that to discuss, [just] like what we did for [Bohol]. So, within the week, [we’ll] just focus on the other seven [ECs]. Let’s bunch them together, [so] we can have more details on how we can assist,” Fuentebella told reporters.
Meanwhile, Cebu-based distribution utilities (DUs) Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and Mactan Electric Company (MECO) have restored power to 71.44% and 80% of households in their respective franchise areas. Aboitiz-owned VECO covers Cebu and Mandaue cities, as well as nearby towns and cities in mainland Cebu. MECO, meanwhile, covers nearby Mactan and Olango islands. Both DUs aim to fully restore electric services by the end of the month.
In Bohol, the Bohol Light Co. Inc. (BLCI) has restored power to 56% of households in Tagbilaran City. BLCI had moved its full restoration target date from January 31 to February 28 due to issues regarding their electric poles.
Photo from SURNECO Facebook page.