power and water

87% of power lines restored post-Odette, but distribution a problem

Michelle Abad

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87% of power lines restored post-Odette, but distribution a problem

IN NEED OF POWER. With power supply still down, residents of Cebu are desperate to buy generators in Carbon Market following onslaught of Typhoon Odette in Cebu City on December 22, 2021.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

In Cebu, only 30% of consumers receive electricity 'because of the amount of damage on the cooperatives' systems,' says the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said 87% of power transmission lines have been restored in areas affected by Typhoon Odette, but distribution facilities need fixing before electricity can return to households.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Albanza said in a Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday, December 29, that Negros Oriental, Southern Leyte, and Bohol still did not have transmission services.

The NGCP recorded at least 95 facilities or power lines that fell, including 12 towers and 820 transmission poles. Albanza said this did not yet include the posts of electric cooperatives that had fallen. Cooperatives and distribution facilities are the ones that send electricity directly to households.

In the Visayas, restoration teams still had issues with impassable roads due to the damage, as well as access to fuel and crude oil.

According to Albanza, restored transmission services do not necessarily mean households can expect a steady supply of electricity.

“In the areas with 100% restored transmission services, this means that if the cooperatives and distribution utilities are ready and there is electricity supply coming from power generators, then we will be able to transmit power to different areas in a particular island,” she said in Filipino.

The NGCP cited the example of Cebu, an island which they claimed they had restored all transmission services to all cooperatives.

“But we have monitored that only 30% has been utilized. This means only 30% of consumers in the household and commercial levels of Cebu are able to receive electricity because of the amount of damage on the cooperatives’ systems,” Albanza said in Filipino.

The Department of Energy on Monday, December 27, said it may take up to two months to restore power in some areas in Cebu.

Restoring power in Bohol

On Sunday, December 26, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the government was able to restore power in 150 out of 269 cities and municipalities that experienced blackouts due to the typhoon. That meant 119 cities and municipalities were left without electricity.

The NDRRMC said full power restoration could be in February 2022.

Albanza explained on Wednesday that while there were power plants in Bohol, it still gets its electric supply from Leyte, whose power is also down. Odette destroyed two “special structures” supplying power to Bohol mainland and Lapinig Island.

Albanza said the restoration of the special structures may take a while. “But in the meantime, the NGCP will try to fix the system inside Bohol which is not yet connected to Leyte, so that we will be able to run the power plants which are ready to give electricity in Bohol.”

The NGCP said it was targeting to restore transmission services in Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Southern Leyte by December 31. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.