Meralco targets normaln operations by Sunday
MANILA, Philippines — The full restoration of electricity in service areas of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is targeted tomorrow, the power distribution firm said.
“We hope to get back normal operations by the end of the week or Sunday,” Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said at a press conference yesterday.
“It’s been a difficult climb for us, but I think this is one of the fastest restoration efforts that we have done, if not the fastest over the last several years or decades,” he added.
Earlier, Meralco reported that some 3.8 million customers were without power as of the morning of Nov. 12 when Typhoon Ulysses battered Luzon.
As of 11 a.m. yesterday, Meralco said the number of affected customers has dropped to 453,349 or only 6.727 percent of its total customer base.
“I just want to emphasize that with this situation now, the restoration process will be a bit slower as we will go house to house and the streets, and this is the most tedious process of restoration,” Zaldarriaga said in a mix of English and Filipino.
He added that the company is working with local government units and barangays in its restoration efforts to ensure that the areas are already safe to energize.
Zaldarriaga had said that while the company continues its restoration efforts, it can only bring back electricity to areas that are deemed safe.
“You cannot energize an area that is still flooded or the areas that still have mud. Of course we have to remember that water and electricity is a very dangerous combination,” Zaldarriaga said.
“We have to give time to the residents of the area to clean their houses and electrical outlets,” he added.
Zaldarriaga said restoration efforts may also be slower in areas that sustained heavy damage such as toppled poles, downed wires and damaged transformers.
At a separate press briefing, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi affirmed the target of Meralco to bring back electricity by Sunday.
Cusi reported that in terms of power generation, 15 power plants in the country have been affected by Ulysses, with some going on preventive shutdown.
He added that as of 8 a.m. yesterday, 11 power plants are back in service, three are operational and waiting for dispatch, while one is still ongoing restoration.
Moreover, the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP) reported that as of 11 a.m., eight 69-kilovolt (kv) transmission lines were unavailable.
In terms of electric cooperatives (ECs), the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said that 38 ECs in at least 24 provinces in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A (Calabarzon), 4-B (Mimaropa), 5 (Bicol) and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have experienced varying degrees of power interruption due to the effects of the typhoon as of Nov. 12.
These include ECs operating in Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province in CAR; La Union, Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur in Region 1; Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2; Aurora, Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales and Nueva Ecija in Region 3 (Central Luzon).
Also affected by power outages are consumers of the ECs in parts of Quezon, Laguna and Batangas in Region 4-A; Tablas Island in Romblon in Region 4-B; Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Ticao Island (Masbate) in Region 5.
“Some electric co-ops, particularly those in the provinces of Pangasinan, Aurora, Pampanga, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, reported unavailability of transmission services. The Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative Inc. and Tarlac I Electric Cooperative Inc. have already returned to normal operations after experiencing power interruptions,” the NEA said.
It added that the Quirino Electric Cooperative estimated the initial cost of damage to its power facilities at P292,500.