Nearly a month after typhoon Nina brought down power lines, 21,833 homes are still without electricity, the latest report of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) stated.
According to the monitoring report signed by OIC-General Manager Peter Amaro, cooperative linemen assisted by “Operation Tabang” repair crews sent by some mainland cooperatives managed to restore power to 27,698 homes out of the total 49,531 affected by the typhoon last Dec. 25, 2016.
The breakdown of the homes already lighted up: Virac, 10,420 (64.99%); Caramoran, 4,275 (95.32%); Pandan, 3,053 (91.38%); Viga, 2,810 (75.15%); Bato, 2,324 (53.60%); Bagamanoc, 1,719 (83.89%); Panganiban, 1,415 (72.83%); San Andres, 1,011 (14.80%); and, San Miguel, 671 (25.35%).
Repair and rehabilitation crews have yet to set foot in Baras, with 2,646 homes, and Gigmoto, with 1,480 homes, where power lines are still down. Still up for restoration are 5,820 homes in San Andres, 5,613 in Virac, 2,012 in Bato, 1,978 in San Miguel, 929 in Viga, 528 in Panganiban, 330 in Bagamanoc, 288 in Pandan, and 210 in Caramoran.
In terms of villages, electricity in 33 barangays in Virac as well as 27 in San Andres have yet to be restored, along with all 29 in Baras, all 9 in Gigmoto, 19 in San Miguel, 16 in Bato, 8 in Viga, 7 in Panganiban, four in Bagamanoc and two in Caramoran.
The cooperative assured, however, that it is doing all things possible to restore power connection to these households in 120 barangays. After the initial rehab work assisted by the Meralco One Foundation, the co-op is now being helped by teams from six other cooperatives – Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative (CENPELCO), Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative (ISECO), Pangasinan Electric Cooperative 1 (PANELCO 1), Pangasinan Electric Cooperative 2 (PANELCO 2), Sorsogon Electric Cooperative 1 (SORECO 1), Sorsogon Electric Cooperative 2 (SORECO 2), and Ticao Island Electric Cooperative (TICELCO) from Masbate province. The rehab teams from these cooperatives will have their last working day these Jan. 26, with the FICELCO tendering for them a send-off on the 27th.
It added that except for the Solong Diesel Power Plant and Solong Hydroelectric Power Plant, all the other plants – Marinawa DPP, Viga DPP, Balongbong HPP, CPGI DPP, and Obi HPP – are operation.
A partial report on the damage sustained by FICELCO’s distribution lines disclosed that 54.17 percent pf the 831.082 kilometers of 13.2-kV power lines were damaged while the typhoon’s winds damaged a total of 1,340 poles, with three-fourths of them in Virac (573) and San Andres (436). Nina also caused 134 power poles to lean and damaged 107 distribution transformers.
As of Jan. 19, the cooperative estimated the partial cost of damage at P51,827,377.36.
Just days after the typhoon, the FICELCO Board of Directors headed by Board President Jorge Tabirara passed a resolution applying for a calamity loan from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in the amount of P80 million for the restoration and/or rehabilitation of the distribution lines.
Estimating that the restoration process would take three to four months to complete, the Board said there is an urgent need for available financial capital to enable the purchase of needed line hardware and materials. It added that with the losses suffered by the co-op and the emergency purchases made in the initial phase of the rehab, the current financial standing of the cooperative cannot withstand and sustain the restoration costs.
Last Jan. 13, following the loan application’s approval by Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, NEA released an initial P26,579,712.22 to the cooperative. For the subsequent release of the additional loan amount, the agency has reportedly required FICELCO to submit, among others, an accomplishment report and accounting of the initial P26 million release, updated damage report and updated restoration report.
Prior to the initial release of the NEA calamity loan, it is claimed that FICELCO borrowed around P35 million from the agency so it could pay its suppliers for the grid’s power consumption for the past month. Many of the cooperative’s 49,000 member-consumers have been unable to pay their bills on the deadline due to the damage inflicted by Nina.