Dark Christmas in typhoon-hit areas?


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The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines says it will take them 5-6 weeks to restore power in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), 'assuming nothing else happens'

NO ELECTRICITY. Residents walk through debris and toppled power lines in Tacloban City, Leyte. AFP/Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines – Christmas, for sure, will lack the traditional revelry in the towns and cities devastated, if not wiped out, by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan). 

The private company operating the country’s power transmission system said on Wednesday, November 13, it will take them up to 6 weeks to restore power in areas badly hit by the storm – “assuming nothing else happens.”

The period will hit Christmas time, which is a period of celebration and lights for Filipinos.

As of Tuesday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had counted 556 of its structures damaged by the super typhoon. These include 248 towers and 318 poles mostly in the Visayas. Seven substations were also damaged.

Fixing the backbone and main lines of the grid will take 5-6 weeks, NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said on Wednesday.

This estimate will hold true, however, “assuming nothing else happens,” she said.

‘Worst ever’ damage to power lines

Yolanda, one of the world’s strongest typhoons on record, struck several regions in the Philippines on Friday, November 8, flattening homes, buildings, and infrastructure. It killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands, mostly in the Visayas provinces.

“The damage is by far the worst ever. We don’t have an estimate as to how much the damage costs because our focus is to quickly repair and restore power in affected areas,” said Alabanza.

Alabanza said most transmission towers crumpled. They could only bear 185 kph sustained winds, no match for Yolanda’s monstrous winds running 220 kph.

The NGCP will prioritize line restoration in the following areas:

  • Ormoc-Cabacungan
  • Marshalling-Tabango
  • Ormoc-Babatngon
  • Ormoc-Maasin
  • Ormoc-Simangan
  • Dingle-Panit-an
  • Nabas-Altabas

“We are working hard to bring[ing] electricity back to affected areas by Christmas. We have already tapped as many NGCP personnel as we can,” Alabanza added.

As of November 12, the total capacity of the Visayas grid is 1,058 MW with peak demand of 1,158MW.

Power supply remains limited, so monitoring the power situation in the Visayas is also a priority for the NGCP. 

The supply-and-demand situation brought by limited power supply may curtail power in some areas in the region. – Rappler.com

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