MANILA, Philippines – The provinces of Bohol, Dinagat Islands, and Surigao del Norte, among those devastated by Typhoon Odette (Rai), will unlikely have electricity back by year-end.
According to the Department of Energy, it is difficult to say when exactly power will resume in those areas, as restoration has been challenging.
Restoration teams have yet to reach Bohol and Dinagat Islands. The assessment of the extent of damage to power facilities has yet to be completed as well.
In the case of Bohol, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said it aims to link the island province to Leyte, in order to provide 40 megawatts of power. NGCP is targeting to complete this by December 31.
Power lines are just part of the equipment that need to be repaired. According to the National Electrification Administration (NEA), both distribution utilities Bohol I and II electric cooperatives (BOHECO I and II) have been damaged as well, leading to total power interruption.
Parts of other provinces, meanwhile, may still experience blackouts in the coming days. NEA Total Electrification and Renewable Energy Development head Ernesto Silvano said power in areas serviced by the Central Negros Electric Cooperative might not be fully restored before 2021 ends.
Restoration activities for the island of Panay, which includes the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo, will likely be finished by Wednesday, December 22, said Silvano.
As of Tuesday, December 21, NEA said there are still no updates regarding the situation of the Palawan Electric Cooperative, Northern Negros Electric Cooperative, and Negros Oriental I and II cooperatives.
NEA said the estimated cost of damage to distribution utilities was at about P300 million as of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said petroleum supply is “sufficient,” but the only challenge is delivering fuel to ports in typhoon-hit areas.
Fuentebella said 22 days’ worth of petroleum supply is available.
“Oil companies assured the Department of Energy that we have sufficient supply,” he said.
“The challenge remaining is how the vessels carrying the petroleum products can reach the ports…. The Coast Guard even volunteered to direct the vessels because some smaller vessels have capsized in the area.”
Odette caused massive floods and left destruction in its wake. As of Monday, December 20, police put the death toll at 375, but dozens are still missing. Hundreds were also injured, according to police.
Residents in hard-hit areas have been appealing for food, drinking water, other basic commodities, and fuel.
In Cebu, the provincial government prohibited purchasing fuel by the gallon for vehicles and imposed a cap per day in order to prevent hoarding.
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